Harry Hedgehog Cafe

hedgehog3

Turn down the volume on your squee-meter, unless you want to lose a little more of your hearing! Check out the little prickle monsters you can snuggle up with at Tokyo’s Harry Hedgehog Cafe

Well, snuggle might not be quite the right word. As you can see, that's not fur – those are spines
Okay, snuggle might not be quite the right word. As you can see, they’re not exactly covered in fluff

The reason it’s called the Harry Hedgehog Café is that these little animals are known as hari-nezumi in Japanese, which means (brace yourself for the most perfect name EVER) Needle Mouse.

But that does not keep them from being cuteness squared
The prickliness does not in any way prevent them from being cuteness squared, however
The first thing you notice is that they come in a lot of different colors, from salt and pepper to albino. You can choose three different needlemice to play with during your stay
They come in a lot of different colors, from salt and pepper to albino

You can choose three different needle mice to play with during your stay.

The loaf is strong with this one
The loaf is strong with this one

Roam around and look at them all before choosing the hedgehog of your dreams, then the staff will bring it to you in a bread pan (which comes in handy, since sometimes you need to take a rest from a wiggly little ball of pins & needles trying to climb your arm).

More squee
More squee
You are not allowed to let them roam freely – only the staff is allowed to let this happen
Only the staff is allowed to let them roam freely, but if you’re lucky, you might get to see one wandering around on its little pink feet
One slight drawback: hedgehogs are naturally nocturnal, which means that some are not as eager to be played with as they might be at, say midnight
One slight drawback: hedgehogs are naturally nocturnal, which means that some are not as eager to be played with during the day as they might be at, say midnight. Just be warned that if you choose to play with one that’s curled up asleep in its habitat, you can’t really blame it for being like me before my morning coffee: cranky and a bit bite-y

In the interest of transparency, I feel I ought to provide you a cat café metric before you decide to go: the ratio of time spent watching animals sleep to the time playing with said animals is about 3:1.

I thought the souvenir goods were quite excellent
I thought the souvenir goods deserved an A for cuteness…
...although the stuffies didn't quite capture that authentic spiny experience
…and fortunately, the stuffies did not deliver that authentic spiny experience
And if you absolutely can't leave without a hedgehog of your own...
If you absolutely can’t leave without a hedgehog of your own…
And if you absolutely can't leave without a hedgehog of your own, you can adopt them for a stack of cash
…you can apparently adopt one for a stack of cash

Open: every day from 12:00 – 21:00

Admission: ¥2000 an hour per person on weekdays, ¥2600 an hour per person on weekends (and you get charged even if you don’t play with any hedgehogs, so be forewarned)

Reservations are recommended, and one hour is the minimum reservation time. You can  just show up and stand in line, but the wait can be over an hour, and some days they are fully booked and even standing in line won’t get you in. You can make a reservation online in English here. Unlimited serve-yourself cold water and tea are included in the price, but let’s be honest: the thing this “café” really serves up is hedgehogs. Some staff speak English, and there is an English rules card to tell you the dos and don’ts before you get your hedgehog

MAP

The hedgehog cafeis down a tiny side street near Roppongi Station, but it isn't hard to find
The cafe is down a tiny side street near Roppongi Station, but it isn’t hard to find

Thank you Dana Sachiye Mar for being a hedgehog whisperer extraordinaire and letting me post a few of your lovely photos (4, 6, & 10)

Read a novel set in Tokyo

When Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death wasn’t an accident, his life begins to unravel…read more

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