Nekobukuro: tokyo, Japan
Phone: +81 3-3980-6111
Hours: Mon-Sun 10:00 - 21:00
Entrance Fee: Y700 (no time limit)
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Cat vs Cafe (100% Cat)
Strange Condition: Review of Nekobukuro
Located on the top floor of Tokyu Hands Department Store in Ikebukuro, my experience in Nekobukuro can only be described as odd.
It doesn’t qualify as a café, as no food or drink is served, but I put it on my list as it is billed as a ‘cat playground.’ Close enough, in my book.
Ikebukuro is known for being a busy shopping district and this store is no exception. As I climbed up the eight flights of stairs (penance for the extra large portion of Ramen I had for lunch), I marveled at the crowds on each level. The eighth floor is dedicated to pet supplies, thus the strategic location of the cat area.
The cashier was exceptionally friendly and explained the rules to me quickly as she took my money. The entrance fee of 700 yen ($6.35 USD) is a bargain compared to the expensive rates charged by most cat cafes, but after entering the ‘café’, I began to understand why.
Inside, the setup was decidedly different than any other cat establishment I had been to before. There were several window displays with various ‘themes’ (like Cat's Kitchen and Dishwashing) and cats inside while chairs lining the wall allow people to sit and take in their antics. Some of the fifteen kitties are outside the windows as well, roaming the two rooms and scrambling to grab a perch out of the reach of the numerous children present. I’m not against kids at cat cafes, but the number of parents and kids made the environment especially noisy and chaotic.
If that wasn’t bad enough, there was also a strong smell of cat urine present, which I really detest. Ultimately, it was the atmosphere that put me off completely, with dark rooms illuminated by harsh fluorescent lighting and many skittish, anxious cats. I stayed for just 20 minutes before I started to feel depressed and needed to leave.
Unless you are on a super tight budget and/or have children, I would give Nekobukuro a pass.
Date Visited: 6/4/17