Ever since seeing “Mr Pokee” (RIP little one) on Instagram for the first time I have become a huge fan of hedgehogs. Visiting a Hedgehog Cafe was high up on my to-do-list in Japan.
We ran into one on our last day in Japan, located in the heart of Harajuku/ Jingumae.
Called “Harry”, the Hedgehog café prides itself to have been the first of its kind in the world. The concept seems to work since the Hedgehog Cafe can now be found at various locations in Tokyo such as Harajuku, Roppongi and even Yokohama.
The company also has Otters- as well as a Hamsters Cafes in Tokyo.
Harry, for sure, has one of the most professional and clean looking pet cafes I have been to in Japan (and I’ve been to a few). Their stores are bright and cheerful and the staff is friendly and knowledgable. They always seem attentive and keep an eye out for their little bristlecones.
At Harry’s, you can only find the African pygmy hedgehogs, which are bred to be domesticated. An interesting fact is that all the animals at Harry’s are up for adoption!
The cafe is also very foreigner-friendly. They have a dedicated English website and most of the staff seemed to be quite fluent in English.
My Hedgehog experience
We got 30 minutes with a hedgehog as well as a little box of mealworms to feed them for around 1650 Yen (15£). If you decide not to get mealworms the entry ticket is slightly cheaper.
The entry fee also includes a free drink from their own vending machine (but to be honest, I wouldn’t come here for the drinks…).
We were paired with two Hedgehog babies. We didn’t get to choose which Hedgehogs we would like to be paired with.
Keep in mind that some of them can be outgoing and active while others might be sleepy or even anxious.
We got a pair of thick gloves each and a member of staff explained to us in detail how to handle them.
Our hedgehog babies weren’t half as excited to see us as we were to see them. One of them was absolutely reluctant to be held and just wanted to curl up into a ball and sleep. We just let him.
Hedgehogs, in general, are nocturnal animals that typically prefer a solitary lifestyle.
Even though the animals get “breaks” throughout the day, it’s understandable that they might be sleepy more often than not.
While a lot of the older Hedgehogs around us were fine interacting with people I feel it’s important to keep in mind that the animals shouldn’t just be seen as “entertainment” and should never be forced to do anything.
We fed the less sleepy baby the mealworms which it seemed to thoroughly enjoy. Our 30 minutes were mostly spent looking at the hedgehogs and talking to the staff, though.
Would I recommend it?
For me, it was a great experience learning a bit about Hedgehogs and getting to hold one!
The animals seem to be well-cared for but, of course, I was there for only 30 minutes which isn’t enough to judge this properly. In general, it’s not the best lifestyle for these little creatures. Keeping pets or even exotic animals in this kind of environments is always a bit of an ethical issue. After all, everyone has to decide for themselves if they want to visit and support pet cafes.
All I can say is that I recommend doing your research before visiting any kind of pet cafes in Asia as some of them can be quite awful.
So, would I go to “Harry’s” again? Probably not. Would I recommend it? Considering that I feel the Hedgehogs were well looked after by the staff who genuinely seemed to care and that it was a great experience overall I would say; yes. If you really want to handle or look at a Hedgehog it’s definitely an experience not to be missed 🙂