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It's rabbit season for cafes

By Yuko Watanabe

Last year, cat cafes were trendy. This year, rabbit cafes are attracting attention.

Japanese magazines and TV variety programs have been featuring stories on rabbit cafes in trendy areas such as Jiyugaoka and Shimokitazawa.

The unusually-named Ra.a.g.f (meaning "rabbit and grow fat") is one such cafe. It opened in Megami street near Jiyugaoka Station last October. The owner opened the first Ra.a.g.f cafe in Harajuku.

Cafe manager Maria Fuwa says there is a rabbit boom in Japan now. "Many people are buying rabbits as pets," she says, "but they do not know much about the habits of rabbits and so they end up getting rid of them."

Fuwa says that one of the goals of the rabbit cafe is to provide people with opportunities to learn how to feed them and see what they are like before buying one at a pet shop. People can also buy rabbits at Ra.a.g.f where the staff are happy to give customers a few tips on how to look after the rabbits.

The cafe operates on a time service. It costs 600 yen for 30 minutes, 1,000 yen for a hour, and 500 yen for each 30 minutes after that. There is only a drink menu, but customers can bring their own food.

According to Fuwa, customers have a good time with the rabbits, which have a soothing effect. "They enjoy taking pictures of the rabbits and talking kindly to them as if they were the rabbits' mothers," she says. Fuwa says most customers would like to have rabbits as pets but can't because of their living environment.

The customers are varied -- men and women, young and old, and foreigners as well. Ra.a.g.f in Jiyugaoka is especially lively on weekends when families come in, while the cafe in Harajuku is more popular with young couples during the week.

The rabbits are usually kept in cages but let out when customers come in. There are various kinds of rabbits, so the staff let them out based on their compatibility. The rabbits are fed rabbit food, grass and vegetables. The staff come in even on holidays to feed them.

Because drinks are served and customers bring food, sanitation is an important issue. Fuwa says the cafe is regularly cleaned with disinfectant. Children are recommended to use alcohol disinfection after playing with rabbits.

The cafe owns its own breeding center in Saitama Prefecture. Baby rabbits are sent to the cafes and sold there if customers want them.

“I think the rabbit trend will last for a while because rabbits live a long life like -- 8 to 10 years," says Fuwa. "They are loved as partners or as members of the family.”

Ra.a.g.f in Jiyugaoka Where: 2 minutes from Jiyugaoka station Open hours: 12:00 - 19:30 (weekdays), 11:00 - 20:00 (weekends) Regular holidays: Every Thursday and 3rd Friday of the month More information: http://raagf.com/shop/jiyugaoka/

Ra.a.g.f in Harajuku Where: 5 minutes from Meiji-jingumae station, 8 minutes from Harajuku station Open hours: 12:00 - 19:30 (weekdays), 11:00 - 20:00 (weekends) Regular holidays: Every Friday and 3rd Thursday of the month More information: http://raagf.com/shop/harajuku/

© Japan Today

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Not a good thing!! Those kind of "shops" promote impulse buying!! People come there and take photos of those cute rabbits even using flash, which can be very harmful for the eyes of the rabbits. Also they keep them most of the time in too small cages. They are not spayed or neutered. When they are out, they are in an enviorment which offers no entertainment for them no hiding houses or tunnels to play. Places like this would not be allowed in the US or western Europe!! A very sad story!! For more information on rabbits google for "House Rabbit Society"!!

-1 ( +4 / -4 )

Places like this would not be allowed in the US or western Europe!!

Certainly not, they tend to end up on a plate

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Now I am waiting for a rabbit + cat cafe :-)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Andreas.... i live in the USA.... who says they would not be allowed here?.... the reason is that cat/rabbit cafes aren't here in the USA is because .. no way Americans are going to pay to go someplace to pet a cat or rabbit... We have zoos for that and they have a petting area there.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@ Mr Sushi, one reason those place would not be allowed is that you have animal rights group like HRS who would rally against it. Petting zoos are not the same because in those place they have an animal friendly environment and laws which controls those places. I have nothing against a place where people can interact with rabbits but it should be done in a rabbit friendly environment.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How can anyone run a shop or business in this overly trendy country? So what happened to the Cat Cafes? Did they swap out the cats?

Trends last a blink of an eye here and are gone. No wonder so few small companies can survive.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have a rabbit at home. I saved it from a big cat outside. My rabbits name is Usagi, but nick named Bucky. When it bites you scream. But, it is so cute.

You cannot just give it any vegetables. Please read up on it first.

Boing Boing Boing! Usagi!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Lady: "Oh cute. Little round pea sized chocolates!" Man:"Those aren't chocolate."

2 ( +3 / -2 )

I too think cat cafes won't work in the states because why Americans don't have the Japanese "kawaiiiiiiiiii!!!" mentality. Let's go into this cafe not to drink coffee and hang out but to pet cats and take pictures with them! Some things are uniquely Japanese and don't really translate well. BUT! It would be fun to open one in Little Tokyo and cater to the Japanese tourists! I haven't been in cat cafe yet but I am planning on checking one out.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"It's wabbit season!" "It's duck season!" "Wabbit season!" "Duck season!"

This definitely would not work in Australia. It is illegal to keep wabbits in most states unless it is desexed and licenced. There are only two kinds of rabbits in Australia - Dead or soon to be dead!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I have a rabbit at home. I saved it from a big cat outside. My rabbits name is Usagi, but nick named Bucky. When it bites you scream. But, it is so cute.

I'm imagining you saying that in 'Jewish Queens NY' accent. Oh wait, I forget you are a Japanese girl. Silly me.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Cat Cafe , Rabbit Cafe, Maid Cafe, Karazu Cafe anyone?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have the accent Ayler.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I predict a few kids getting bitten pretty damned bad in the near future, those things have serious sets of chompers!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I thought this was a cynical move to avoid the new law which prohibits such shops to be open after 8pm - that law only applies to cats and dogs I hear. However, since this shop also closes at 8pm I must be wrong.

Still don't like the idea, can't be nice to have people constantly streaming through and touching you.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Rabbit and grow fat, eh?

"Cafe manager Maria Fuwa"

Those wabbits look fuwa-fuwa.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Are the wabbits wascally?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well I like to keep some rabbits for pettin' and some for eatin'. The bunnies are adorable though. Only reason we don't have these in the US is simply because its a valid issue with health department regulations. No animals allowed where food is served or bought, this includes grocery stores not just restaurants. In the immortal words of 1980's V series, "I don't know whether she wants to eat you , mate with you, or just keep you as a pet..."

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Just watch. After the rabbit trend is over, these cafe's will start going to the dogs.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"rabbit and grow fat"


0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Andreas Zachcial

I don't see how this is that different from how my old local SPCA chapter ran things, you could sit and play with the cats and dogs, learn about them from workers and adopt them while there after becoming attached to one. Heck, the only thing the SPCA is missing is charging people to come in, since they do even have a drink menu

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Like a mini rabbit zoo, good place for children to play with Rabbits.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

4 cute bunnies in that photo!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah Japan - the land of fast-fading and quirky fads....... Love it. Never ceases to amaze me how easily people are willing to hand over their money. Well, whatever tickles their fancy I guess. To each his/her own.

Ra.a.g.f - Rabbit and grow fat. Ergm, okay. That would have been my first guess too.

Fattening the rabbits for a slaughter perhaps? Hope not, poor things.

“but they do not know much about the habits of rabbits and so they end up getting rid of them.”

Does 'get rid of them' mean what I think it means????? How inhumane and awfully irresponsible can you get.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When it bites you scream. But, it is so cute.

LMAO!!!! Oh my God, that is so hilarious JapanGal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Certainly not, they tend to end up on a plate

I don't understand why NeoJamal got four thumbs down. What he said is very true.

Rabbits are cute but they are also very delicious. This is well-known in Europe (especially France).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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