Japan Adventures – Zoos and Cafes

Hello! Welcome to the first Japan recap post! I’ve decided to group the posts by similar experiences, otherwise I’ll go on forever. I do have quite a few photos to share in each post, but I also tried to stop myself from going too overboard.

In this post, I’ll be sharing about our trip to the Ueno Zoo, Kotori (Bird) Cafe and Hedgehog Cafe in Tokyo.

Ueno Zoo

This was the first place we officially visited in Tokyo. We spent way longer there than I thought we would! They had such a huge array of animals, way bigger than any other zoo I’ve visited in New Zealand. If you watched my highlights video, the first minute is basically devoted to the animals at the zoo. My personal favourite was discovering the Secretary Bird (pictured below). It is a wonderful creature.

As well as watching all the animals, we spent a decent time in the gift shop. Pretty much every souvenir shop we went into was filled with so much cute things. Every store I ever went into Japan was filled with cute (sometimes weird) things I wanted to buy. I did resist in this gift shop, but all the cute little animals were calling out to me.

ueno zoo 04

Themed foods are also something that will keep showing up in photos. The amount of themed things in general in Japan is incredible! Most places we visited had a mascot, and some kind of themed food.

ueno zoo 05

All in all, we spent a really nice day at the zoo. There were heaps of kids around as there was a school trip on as well. It definitely made the day more interesting. The size of the zoo itself is massive, and it’s also apparently the oldest zoo in Japan, opening to the public in the late 1880s. The zoo is most famous for the giant pandas. I did get to see them, but I couldn’t take a good photo due to the sheer amount of people around though!

Kotori Cafe

This was an impromptu place we visited. Across the road from this cafe was the Ghibli Museum. We arrived early so we decided to kill some time at the bird cafe. They had a huge selection of little birds!

bird cafe 05

Bird Cafe 01

I spent a lot of time with my face right up to the glass watching all the little birds do their thing. I tried to take lots of photos, but most turned out blurry. The birdies are fast! The cafe also had lots of cute little bird-themed desserts, which we had to try.

I can’t remember what these desserts were!! Little details escape me over time. You can bet they tasted as cute as they looked though! All in all, we had a great time chilling with the birds, eating some sweets. You could pay to enter the rooms with the birds, but that made me nervous as I didn’t want to disturb them! For some reason, they also had this random parrot mask which we all had turns wearing.

bird cafe 04

Now onto another animal cafe we visited in Tokyo!

Harry Hedgehog Cafe

This was the cafe that I was the most excited for. We visited Harajuku with this cafe in mind. When we got there, it was already quite busy, but they found a space for us. The little homes for the hedgehogs were fairly spacious for the little guys which was nice. Some were super sleepy, so I just watched one little guy curl up in a ball and sleep.

hedgehog cafe 01

One kept waking up when we offered him a treat. We had dried mealworms which we could offer them. They seem to really love those! We were shown how to gently pick up the hedgehogs, so we all had a go holding one of these cute little animals.

hedgehog cafe 02

Some were quite active and would look around at us and their environment as we held them. The one I picked up was awake at first, but then I guess he wanted to go back to sleep.

hedgehog cafe 03

All in all, this was just the cutest experience I’ve had in my life. Hedgehogs are so adorable, and being given the chance to actually hold them was amazing!!

Bonus Owl

So for this last one, we didn’t actually visit the Owl Cafe. I do wish we did though! But when we came across the girls with the owls (who were advertising for an owl cafe nearby), we had been walking around all day, and I really wanted to get back to our hotel (which was a 30 minute train ride away at that point). Back to the owl. It was so mini and beautiful!!


The owl also yawned at one point, and I swear my heart skipped a beat.

owl 02

All of these animal interactions were highlights of our trip to Japan! I’m sure there’ll start catching on with the rest of the world. It’s always such a fun (and cute) experience!

Previous Japan Posts:

Tomorrow I’ll be talking about our visit to Ghibli Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science and Meiji Shrine.


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Hello internet! My name is Angela. I write daily about my travels, life, thoughts, and ramblings. I live down in New Zealand with my lovely husband, Rory. Thanks for stopping by!
  1. That yawn… 😍

    1. I literally gasped when it started yawning and I’m so glad I caught it on camera 😂

  2. I saw that parrot mask briefly in your youtube video, I was wondering what that was about lol!
    I always love going to the zoos in different cities when I travel, our Edmonton Zoo is the tiniest saddest Zoo ever so I like seeing what else is out there.
    That little owl!! You got such great pictures of it, it’s adorable

    1. Haha, we sent photos of us in that mask to people with no context 😂😂 it was so funny!
      Our local zoo isn’t that greatest either. It’s fine when you’re little but I’ve gotten in the habit of visiting zoos in other places as well 😄

      1. Lol that’s awesome 😂
        If you ever get a chance to go the San Diego Zoo in California is amazing!

  3. Absolutely adorable! So many cute animals (:

    1. They really were!!! It was definitely some of my favorite parts from the trip 😄

  4. So many cute photos in this post. <3 Japan is number one on my travel list!

    1. Hehe, we definitely got our fill of cute animals over in Japan! I hope you get to go some day! It was incredible, and I would love to go back 😀

  5. You lucky lucky human you!!! Idk what to say .. I’m wallowing in my jealousy. I mean you went to the one place in all the world I really want to visit and saw a lot of the animal attractions I’ve always thought were amazing. I’m so very jelly.

    1. Haha, thanks Tiana! I still can’t believe that we got to go to Japan and experience all of this!! We’d been planning it for so long, and it was all so much fun! I hope you get to go one day too! 🙂

  6. Those hedgehogs! 😍

    1. I know right!! They were so sweet 😀

  7. So jealous of the hedgehog cafe experience! I’d love to go there 🙂

    1. It was so amazing being able to feed and hold the hedgehogs 😀 It was one of the experiences I was looking forward to most on out trip! I hope you get to go someday 🙂

      1. Fingers crossed 🙂 May have to plan a trip for that… or petition for them to open one closer to home?!

  8. Aaw so much adorableness! I love the look of the hedgehog cafe it’s been on my list for a while if I visit Japan xx

    1. It was amazing! The hedgehog cafe was a must on our to-do list in Japan as well! I hope you get to go someday 😀

  9. OMG this sounds like such a blast!! and those hedgehogs are amazingly adorable 😍

    1. Going to animal cafes was part of our Japan plan! The hedgehogs were at the top of my list! They’re so cute! 😍

  10. Wow oh my goodness it looks like you had an amazing time!! I can’t deal with the level of cuteness from the animals in this post 😊 xx

    1. Haha, the cute animals were such a bonus in Japan! I think the rest of the world should catch up with owl and hedgehogs cafes 😀

      1. Yeah definitely!! Xx

  11. Ohh I think I would enjoy it here cuz love animals and who can resist cute cafes!

    1. Haha, you definitely would Connie! There was so much cute animals and themed cafes around 🙂

  12. Girl you had me at cafes! That is so cool that Japan has so many animal themed cafes. The animals are so cute! <3

    1. The animal cafes are so cool! They give you such a great opportunity to interact with these animals 😄

  13. They’re all so adorable!!! I’m actually surprised you guys didn’t go to a cat cafe there too lol but you have one back home too right.

    1. Haha, we do have a cat cafe at home. We’re wanting to visit again soon!

      1. I wish we had one here too lol

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