Hedgehogs and degus (a fluffy chinchilla-like rodent native to Chile) are the star attractions at this rather specialized animal cafe on the outskirts of Kabukicho. You can choose your favorite hedgehog to play with and feed, and exchange hedgehogs upon request if you want some more variety. Gloves are available but not mandatory, and there are also special-purpose hedgehog cushions you can use to hold the animals.
When you arrive you'll be instructed in the rules of the shop and given tips on how to handle hedgehogs safely. You're then assigned a seat in front of a miniature house-shaped box where your hedgehog will be comfortable. You can purchase a portion of live, wiggly mealworms to feed to your hedgehog, although a snack-size portion of six mealworms costs Y500, which seems to be a bit of a markup. Tweezers are provided to handle the mealworms.
After you've fed and taken photos of your hedgehog there's not a lot to do - hedgehogs really aren't the most affectionate of pets. The degus would seem more promising, but unfortunately degu interaction is somewhat restricted. If the staff have time they will take them out of their cages for you to pet, but they have a tendency to get loose and run around (the degus, that is), so they're under close supervision.
You can specify a stay of either thirty or sixty minutes (we found thirty minutes to be sufficient), and the entry price includes a soft drink of your choice. Use the shop's website to make online reservations (in Japanese), or just show up if you're feeling lucky, although space is limited so visitors with reservations have priority.
See more photos and details at Animal Cafes.com.
This book will introduce you to more than twenty of Japan's favorite specialty foods that are less well known abroad, along with a guide to the best places in Tokyo to try them and expert tips on what to order. From our sister site Bento.com.