My Bittersweet Visit To A Hedgehog Cafe – Harajuku, Japan


I had read of cat, dog, goat, and rabbit cafes, but it wasn’t until an afternoon scroll through Harajuku after visiting Meiji Jingu shrine that I was made aware of another type of animal cafe: hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs were housed in a half cylinder-shaped metal enclosure filled with pellets, food, and water. There were a couple of larger hedgehogs in the center of the room that were open for anyone to play with.

Anyone who has held a rodent before knows the feelings of rejection, as it seems they never want to just stay put in your hand. Initially, the hedgehogs tried to fall back into their aquarium, but sometimes, they would be so tired, they would curl right into a ball and go to sleep.

The cost is ¥1,400 for 30-minutes or ¥1,630 for 30-minutes plus mealworms. Additional snacks may be purchased at ¥540 per container.

Hedgehog Cafe Menu.

The ticket machine is on the counter to the left of the entrance.
If you have any questions, the staff behind the counter will be happy to address them.
After getting the tickets, I presented them to one of the staff and was guided over to our seat in the corner of the cafe.

How to handle your hedgehog.

Initially curious, he soon determined he was in no danger and…

…curled up to go to sleep.

Snack Time

About 5 mealworms come in every container.

Feeding time!
Like the sign stated, they don’t have very good vision. It seemed the hedgehogs weren’t aware of the mealworm until I put it directly in front of its mouth.

 

 

Nocturnal, Crepuscular, or Diurnal?

No one likes being woken up from their sleep. I really hate it, you hate it, and I’m certain these naturally nocturnal hedgehogs hate it.

The hedgehogs were adorable and interesting to hold, but I’m concerned for their welfare in this type of environment. While it seemed everyone, myself included, only had the best intention of nurturing and handling them with the utmost of care, it’s certainly unnatural and unhealthy to wake these nocturnal creatures. A hedgehog’s defensive position is when it curls into a tight, spiny ball. While none of the hedgehogs we held did this, plenty of visitors who attribute its ball shape to just being “cute” are unaware that the hedgehog is actually stressed out.

 

 

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