Cat cafes have joined revolving sushi restaurants, karaoke joints, and pachinko parlors as a quintessential feature of the Japanese urban landscape. However, most cat cafes don’t look particularly Japanese, instead opting for the sort of interior you’d find in a relaxing California coast restaurant or posh British tearoom.
But soon Tokyo will have a cat cafe that Japanese in both concept and aesthetics, with the opening of the Edo Cat Cafe.
Sharing the first part of its name with the feudal-era name for Tokyo, the Edo Cat Cafe takes its visual cues from ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the tail end of the Tokugawa shogunate. The interior of the facility consists of multiple areas representing aspects of daily life in the Edo Period, such as the Neko Chaya (Cat Teahouse), Neko Nagaya (Cat Rowhouse), Neko Yukaku (Cat Pleasure Quarter), Neko Furo (Cat Public Bath), and Neko Jinja (Cat Shrine).
While cat cafes are popular as places where one can sample the experience of having a pet, Edo Cat Cafe can help you make it a permanent situation. Many of the cafe’s animals are rescue cats, and the organizers are hoping that some smitten customers will end up adopting the kitty that charms their hearts.
Even if you’re not ready to make the leap to pet ownership, you don’t have to go home empty-handed. You can get your fortune told via an omikuji paper at the Cat Shrine, and there’s also a gift shop selling exclusive (and cute) merchandise including T-shirts, ceramic dishes and tenugui decorative/wrapping cloths, cushions and stickers, with a portion of proceeds going to feline animal welfare programs.
The Edo Cat Cafe is conveniently located right next to Ryogoku Station, making it easy to combine with a visit to the Kokugikan sumo arena, Edo Tokyo history museum, or Sumida Hokusai art museum. However, while the Edo period itself lasted nearly three hundred years, the Edo Cat Cafe won’t enjoy the same longevity, as it opens on June 15 and closes for good on Aug 31.
Edo Cat Cafe / 江戸ねこ茶屋
Located at JR Ryogoku Station westside event plaza
Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
June 15-Aug 31
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