There’s an important rule to remember when visiting one of Japan’s cat cafes, and that’s that the animals are the ones in charge. It isn’t like a host/hostess bar, where paying the entrance fee guarantees you some company. If the cats want to come over and play or cuddle with you, they will, but if they don’t, that’s their decision, and no one is going to force them.
Because of that, you should expect at least a little downtime during your session, but one cat cafe in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro neighborhood has a brilliant solution: combine a cat cafe with a manga cafe.
Neko no Iru Kyukeijo 299, or Cat Rest Stop 299, boasts a floor space four times as large as the average downtown Tokyo cat cafe, and looking around the 360-degree photos on its website shows it’s indeed a spacious place. But if you walk over to one of the numerous bookshelves, you’ll find them stocked with a library of roughly 5,000 manga volumes, no doubt sourced from the numerous specialty bookstores in Ikebukuro, one of Tokyo’s top three anime/manga fan neighborhoods.
So if the resident kitties want a bit more personal space, you can grab the latest volume of your favorite series and peruse it, while of course keeping an eye out to see if any of the cats are looking receptive to some human interaction.
▼ Some of the many cats that call Cat Rest Stop 299 home
As a matter of fact, the cafe is as committed to making sure you enjoy yourself when you’re not actively playing with the cats as when you are. In addition to the extensive manga collection, there are work desks with power outlets and chargers for USB and Apple devices, so you can get some mobile work done in a cat-enhanced atmosphere. For less industrious types, there are also “sofa seats” that are closer to beds that you’re welcome to take a nap in (the cafe can even provide anti-snoring equipment), and you can also lie down and stretch out on any unoccupied spot on the Japanese-style tatami reed floor sections. Oh, and in the winter they even have multiple kotatsu, low tables with heaters underneath them, which are loved by both people and cats in Japan during the colder parts of the year.
As with most cat cafes, you can purchase beverages for yourself (350 yen) for unlimited self-serve soft drinks) and snacks for the cats, to make them happy and try to earn their favor.
Admission starts at a very affordable 200 yen per 10 minutes, though there are also 1,500-yen packages for 90 minutes and also discounts for customers arriving after 5 p.m. on weekdays. And regardless of how long you stay, admission tops out at 2,000 yen during the week and 3,500 yen on weekends.
Combining a cat cafe and a manga cafe is an original idea, but one that makes a lot of sense, considering that some people think the reason Japanese people like cats is because they fit the classic tsundere anime character archetype so well.
Neko no Iru Kyukeijo 299 / 猫の居る休憩所299
Address: Tokyo-to, Toshima-ku, Higashi Ikebukuro 1-23-9, Kindai Building 10
Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Source: Twitter/@GothicendLolita via Hamster Sokuho
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