The truth about Japanese animal cafés depends on your philosophy about life. The well being of café critters is a debatable subject. (Employees’ love of their birds, cats, dogs and hedgehogs, however, is uncontested.) Your perception of a café will probably depend on your sensitivity to seeing caged bunnies and clipped-wings birds.
Another truth about Japanese animal cafés: If you’re teaching English out in the countryside, you’ll need to catch a train to Tokyo. Or Osaka. Most if not all the cafés are in cosmopolitan areas.
Café may also be a misleading word in some cases. In some animal cafés vending machines are the source of the coffee or tea. Other places are bonafide afternoon tea spots. (Scroll down to see links to a menagerie of popular animal cafés in Tokyo.)
It’s true that a visit to a Japanese animal café is easier if you know a few words.
Let’s start with the animals.