Japan loves everything cute, and what can be cuter than hedgehogs? So, really, it isn’t a surprise to hear that Japan has hedgehog cafés.
One of the cafés is named Harry from the word harinezumi meaning hedgehog in Japanese.
Harinezumi is literally translated to needle mouse.
The café was opened in 2016 in Roppongi district, Tokyo. They wanted to show people that hedgehogs made great pets, even if their spikes might make you think otherwise.
How Does The Café Work?
To get inside, you have to either make a reservation or wait outside until there’s room inside.
It costs 1,400 yen which is about $12 or £9 for 30 minutes inside the café.
Once inside, you can spend your time playing with cute hedgehogs. For the safety of the hedgehogs, visitors are instructed to disinfect their hands before holding the hedgehogs.
The staff will give you a hedgehog or you can ask for a specific one. The café has between 20-30 different breeds of hedgehogs to choose from.
The staff will teach you how to hold and handle the hedgehog.
And if you like your hedgehog a lot, you can keep him/her.
The café sells hedgehogs along with food, cages, and other hedgehog supplies.
What they don’t sell, however, is food for their visitors. Yet, you are allowed to bring your own snacks and beverages as long as your beverage is not alcoholic.
Here’s a video from Abroad in Japan showing a visit to a hedgehog cafe.
The ChikuChiku Café
A newer hedgehog cafe which opened this year (2018) is called the ChikuChiku Cafe. This cafe put their hedgehogs in cute dollhouse-like residence. You can see hedgehogs is classrooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, and other hedgehog-residence settings.
As in the Harry cafe, you are allowed to handle the hedgehogs and play with them as long as you don’t use your camera flash while picturing them or avoid any sudden movements.
Are The Hedgehogs Safe?
You can’t help but think, “Is that the best environment for hedgehogs?”
I mean, we all know hedgehogs dislike loud noises, they are nocturnal, and they need to be kept at a certain temperature.
Yet, Harry café says they take the hedgehogs’ health into consideration.
They are only open in the afternoon and evening in respect to their hedgehogs’ sleeping schedule.
After the café closes, the hedgehogs go to a comfortable room where they can relax and play.
But many people still argue that that isn’t enough. Many of the hedgehogs are all put in one glass tank, even though hedgehogs are solitary animals.
Also, aside from the large number of hedgehogs, the cages are empty. Hedgehogs need igloos to hide in when they feel uncomfortable and wheels to exercise on.
You can read more about the concern for hedgehog safety in hedgehog cafes here.