Thursday, 29 September 2016

JAPAN: First Hedgehog Cafe Opens In Japan

Tokyo is now home to the world’s first hedgehog cafe, the latest in a long list of animal-themed establishments in the city. Located in the Roppongi entertainment district, the cafe is named ‘Harry’ – a play on the Japanese word for hedgehog.

Hedgehogs aren’t native to Japan, but they’ve long since been sold as pets in the nation that’s crazy for all things cute. At Harry, 1,000 yen ($9) can buy animal lovers an hour in the company of the prickly yet adorable creatures. The cafe is home to 20 to 30 friendly hedgehogs of different breeds that you can spend time with and even take home. A chalk-written blackboard lists all the available hedgehog breeds available for purchase and their prices by sex. So if customers find it hard to part with the adorable rodents once their hour is up, they have the option to give them a forever home.

According to Mizuki Murata, a staff member who also works at a rabbit cafe in the same building, Harry has been packed ever since it opened in February, with people sometimes lining up at the door for a chance to spend time with a hedgehog. “We wanted to show people the charm of hedgehogs, which give the impression of being hard to handle,” she said. “We wanted to get rid of that image by letting people touch them.”“The cutest thing about hedgehogs is getting them to finally open up and show you their face,” she added.

“All of these hedgehogs are friendly even though some of them might spike you,” said Anna Cheung, a 11-year-old visitor from England. It’s because of their sharp spikes that Harry always has staff instruct patrons on how to handle the hedgehogs to avoid injuring themselves or the animals.

Animal cafes have been a staple of Japanese urban entertainment for years. From the now-common cat cafes and dog cafes to the niche owl cafes and reptile cafes, you’re bound to find a favorite creature to cuddle with while enjoying a nice cup of green tea.