For those Tokyo residents wanting more than just your average cat, rabbit, owl, hawk or even snake-themed cafe there is a new choice – a hedgehog-themed cafe.
Customers at “Harry” – a play on the animal’s name in Japanese – have been lining up to spend time at a bright room in the Roppongi entertainment district where 20 to 30 hedgehogs of different breeds scrabble and snooze in glass tanks.
A fee of 1,000 yen ($9) on weekdays and 1,300 yen ($12) on holidays brings an hour of playing with and cuddling – carefully – the prickly mammals, which have long been sold in Japan as pets.
Anna Cheung, an 11-year-old visitor from Britain, said: “All of these hedgehogs are friendly even though some of them might spike you.”
Cafe worker Mizuki Murata, who also works in a rabbit cafe in the same building, said the shop had been popular since its opening in February, with customers often having to queue.
“We wanted to show people the charm of hedgehogs, which give the impression of being hard to handle. We wanted to get rid of that image by letting people touch them,” Murata said.
“The cutest thing about hedgehogs is getting them to finally open up and show you their face.”