Jasmine in Japan: Day 1 – Cat Cafe in Asakusa

On the way to Sensō-ji, I stopped off at a cat cafe in Asakusa, the Asakusa Nekoen (浅草ねこ園).

Of course, I really wanted to visit a cat café. However, most of the offerings looked somewhat suspicious: too many pedigree cats that were deliberately bred to look cute. The living conditions were a bit unclear to me as well. As a cat owner, I knew that cats do appreciate their peace. It’s best if you don’t bother them, but rather wait until they arrive of their own volition. Or not.

A different kind of cat cafe in the middle of Asakusa

The Asakusa Nekoen is refreshingly different: located on the third floor of an inconspicuous residential building, it is more of an apartment. You can cuddle and play with the cats there, or just watch them sleep or “be a cat”. The owner was a sweet, middle-aged Japanese woman who spoke some English and greeted me very friendly. At first glance, the whole thing had a somewhat bizarre charm: it really felt as if you had invaded a Crazy Cat Lady’s living room.

The cats are all former street cats, some older, sick, or otherwise ruffled, but with a pronounced distinctive character. So it was not the fake idyll you usually find in these establishments, especially in Japan. That made the whole thing likable right away! And when I sat down, it took less than five minutes before a proud orange and white cat settled down on my lap to sleep. “Garfield” stayed there for almost an entire hour until another kitty took his place. Then I got a thorough cat wash. It was nice to take a break for an hour after the exhausting last few days and listen to the purring.

Some of the cats were also available for adoption, but unfortunately, that wasn’t an option for me. You could also buy a few nice things and support the organization financially! There are also drinks from the fridge, but it’s not actually a café so there is no other food available. During my stay, the owner gave some of the cats the necessary medication, and I always could sense that she really cared about her charges.

Oh, if only I could stay longer…

The hour was up far too quickly and I set off for my next destination, relaxed and completely happy. Overall, I can only recommend a visit to the cat cafe in Asakusa for real cat lovers. If you expect to find one of those picture-perfect cafés, this is probably not the right place for you. But hopefully, real animal lovers won’t care.

The entrance fee is 1000¥ for an hour, which is more or less 6 euros. I don’t think that is too much, even though some reviews are upset about the “horrendous” price. The cafe is a few minutes from Asakusa train station. Unfortunately, it is closed on Tuesdays.

To the previous destinationBack to the overviewTo the next destination