"Aren't they spiky?!" Is usually the first thing people say when I mention the hedgehog cafe. Well, yes they are, but they also have a very warm, soft underbelly, a craving for hugs and a lust for adventure. I think they make the perfect little companions.
This cafe opened recently this year in Roppongi, Tokyo and is a stones throw away from the station. It's aptly named "Harry" and has English staff available to assist you in picking a hedgehog and answering any hedgie-related questions.
The cafe itself is located underneath a rabbit cafe too, so after you're done with the hedgies you can go play with the bunnies.
Upon entrance the staff will ask how long you intend to stay, and is calculated from 500-1500yen per hour. This includes drink bar for as much as you want to drink. I recommend getting a reservation because this cafe is usually always busy, you can reserve the date and time online, but recently I think they added a reservation charge.
You get a piece of paper with your start and ending time on so you don't forget.
The cafe is very, very small, but it made it quite charming, as everything is made of wood it kind of feels like having tea in a hollowed-out tree stump, complete with the soily, woody smell.
There are glass cases with various hedgehogs dotted around, there were about 15 when I visited and also a number of geckos if you get bored of hedgehogs. They are mostly babies, around 1 to 4 months old but there are various kinds. Black and white "salt and pepper" seem to be the most common, cinnamon have a tinge of orange and albino are completely white.
My friend picked an albino, I got a salt and pepper and my friend for some reason got a gecko and wouldn't let it go for the duration of the visit. Something about its pulsing neck creeped me out.
They give you the hedgehog in a box, as you are not permitted to take them out of their glass cases by yourself, but it gives you time to watch the delicate little creature carefully and pluck up the courage to touch it.
"Uwaaa! It's spikes are soft!" You could hear echoing in the cafe. I was surprised too, the spikes are only particularly spiky when the hedgie becomes scared and curls up in ball. They were all docile and enjoyed the gentle patting on their soft bellies.
Another neat feature of this cafe is not only can you play with the hedgehogs - you can also buy them!
My friend fell in love with the little baby albino hedgehog at first sight; It slept comfortably in her hand for the whole visit. Shortly after she went back and bought it! She cherishes her little hedgehog everyday and lavishes it with gifts.
We noticed the English speaking staff was a really handsome man, however before we knew he spoke English my friend said "isn't he handsome! I wonder if they'll let us pet him instead of the hedgehogs". He understood everything....
I exchanged my hedgehog twice, as the first one I got was extremely hyperactive and also quilling (the natural process of their spikes falling out and new ones growing in) the last one slept cutely in my lap.
We had so much fun playing with the little hedgehogs that we didn't drink anything from the drink bar. It was small but various hot teas were available!
Honestly before I visited I was worried that the hedgehogs wouldn't be taken care of in such a cafe or they wouldn't like the attention of so many people. Actually they all seemed stress-free and as they end up adopted, it's a nice practice for them to start their new life in a family home.
If you are in Tokyo and want something different to do, I completely recommend Harry's cafe. It's family friendly, relatively cheap and a wholeheartedly charming experience.