Living in Japan: Japanese Bunny Cafes
Japanese Bunny Cafes うさぎカフェ
Care for a rabbit with your coffee or tea? If yes, Japan is the place to visit. Bunny cafes are cafes that have been hopping across Japan since 2011, the year of the rabbit (usagidoshi). These bunnies are real furry rabbits, not the hairless, airbrushed ones found in Playboy Magazine.
Why do people go to bunny cafes? A young Western couple, in their early twenties, who were visiting Japan from Australia and the U.S.A. explained, with a bunny on each lap, that they wanted to have the most bizarre experiences possible while in Tokyo.
So after having had dinner at the new Robot Restaurant (a restaurant with robot dancers) in Shinjuku, they sought out Ms. Bunny, the "Bunny Hug Cafe" in Asakusa. They discovered it was a great way to unwind after a long day of traveling across Tokyo, not at all like being at a tea party with the March Hare character in Alice in Wonderland.
A middle-aged Japanese woman, who lives within one block of the café, confided, with a smile on her face, that she was being unfaithful to her own pet rabbit by coming to the bunny cafe. One rabbit cannot satisfy all of her emotional needs, so she goes to rabbit cafes about once a week for cuddles with other bunnies.
The beckoning looks of the welcoming rabbits waiting behind the front window enticed me into Ms. Bunny when I happened by chance to be walking toward Asakusa Station. Did they really want to play with me, or were they just doing their jobs, I now wonder. Nonetheless, I walked into the shop. There were rabbits of all varieties available: long haired, short haired, black, white, speckled, rotund. Whatever your heart desires in a rabbit, the bunny cafe will provide, as long as you pay. No money, no bunny honey.
The price you pay will depend upon your desires. Ms. Bunny, like most bunny cafes, has different rooms in which you can enjoy a bunny. The rate for thirty minutes with a rabbit is 600 yen, but room charges are added. A cup of coffee or tea is included.
I chose the cheapest room with many tables and chairs, another 600 yen. This is a shared room for only hugging the bunnies and drinking coffee and tea. For another 200 yen, one can enjoy the "play room," which has partitioned areas for the rabbits to run on the floor. Above that floor, for 400 yen more is the "VIP" room, a completely private room.
The most expensive area, which costs 600 yen, is the terrace on the top of the building. Herbs that rabbits enjoy have been planted on the terrace. There is room to take a walk with the rabbits on the terrace while enjoying a view of the neighborhood.
First, though, one has to choose a rabbit, and with so many adorable staff members doing so can be difficult. I chose a friendly brown rabbit because of his gentle eyes. He was a bit naughty at first. He tried to eat my tea bag, but then he nuzzled my chest, and I considered rabbitnapping him and taking him back home. My wife took around five minutes to choose the right companion. She was torn between so many affectionate beings. She finally picked a tiny brown and white bunny. They bonded quickly with a passionate exchange of nose twitching.
The rabbits of Ms. Bunny know how to satisfy their customers. Each undergoes a rigorous two-week-long program, learning how to give the bunny loving that customers expect, before they are allowed to become hosts or hostesses. They have to learn certain important rules: Never bite a customer. Do not go on their laps. Never drink from the customers’ tea or coffee. However, mine did chew my tea bag when I looked away for a brief moment.
Rabbit cafes are wiggling their noses into cities across Japan. The Usagi Cafe in Yokohama is close to the JR Ishikawacho Station. Rabbit Hall has shops in Osaka and Kobe. R.a.a.g.f (Rabbit and Grow Fat) is the name of a bunny cafe with two shops in Tokyo. Sapporo has the Mon Lapin Rabbit Cafe.
Usagi to Cafe, located in Higashi-ku, Nagoya, serves curry with rice shaped in the form of a rabbit. It is currently celebrating its fifth year in existence. There is probably a bunny cafe near you, if you live in Japan.
Wondering if there were rabbit cafes in other parts of the world, I did a quick Internet search and the only rabbit cafes that I could find in other countries were name of restaurants without rabbits. Most people who live in Japan will agree that modern Japanese culture has a fixation on cuteness, and few will deny that rabbits are cute. The marriage of rabbits with cafes provides a very relaxing experience that is a quintessential experience of today’s Japan.
The Bunny Hug Cafe is just a one-minute walk from the number seven exit of the Tokyo Metro Asakusa Station. Turn left after exiting. Take the first right. Walk straight, and turn right. You will see the rabbits through the first-floor windows. It is open from 12:00 until 19:00. Ms. Bunny is closed on some holidays. To check the schedule, look at its Facebook page: Ms.bunny.Asakusa.usagi.Cafe.
Bunny Cafe Video, Asakusa, Tokyo.
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