We were staying at the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo and discovered that there was a hedgehog cafe within walking distance from our hotel. Margot Robbie went to this same cafe a few months prior and her instagram photo of her holding one of the hedgehogs was adorable. Since we already visited the Owl Cafe and liked it so much, we had to visit the hedgehog cafe too.
We first asked the hotel staff for directions to Harry Hedgehog Cafe, but they didn't seem to know about this new cafe. Not to worry as we had google maps on our phone which made it pretty easy to find. We went in the early evening and spotted their bright blue sign in the alley. There wasn't a line, but when we walked upstairs to the entrance, the cafe was at max capacity. We were asked to wait outside until more tables opened. We really didn't want to wait outside in the chilly weather, but luckily we only had to wait about 10 minutes. You can also make reservations if you don't want to go on a whim, which we highly recommend if you are going on a weekend.
When we were invited back in, the staff member sat us in a tiny corner with two stools and a little table in between us. We were asked to read over the English menu and read the rules. The menu explained the pricing structure and a brief explanation of the cafe. We had to stay for a minimum of one hour, which cost us ¥2,000 (~$20) each. For an extra ¥450 (~$5), we purchased a tiny bowl of live mealworms to feed the hedgehogs.
We signaled to one of the staff members that we were ready to pay. After we made our payment, we were then asked to pick a hedgehog to take back to our little table. Once we made our selection, the hedgehog was placed in a box that was made out of vintage looking license plates. Most of the hedgehogs were sleeping and we felt bad waking them up, but the staff member said that they weren't tired and not to worry.
We walked back to our tiny table with our first hedgehog. We were given the option to grab some free refreshments with tea and coffee (it is called a cafe after all), but we decided not to get any for a couple of reasons. 1) We were preoccupied with our hedgehog and 2) there wasn't much room to put our drinks on the table because the boxes literally took up the entire space on our table.
We were a little scared of holding the hedgehogs, so we first fed them the bowl of mealworms. We were so glad that they provided a pair of tweezers to handle the mealworms because they were really squirmy. We were a bit terrified that the worms would get out of our control and land on our laps, but thank goodness that didn't happen.
We finished feeding the hedgehogs so now it was time to hold them. We were told that they were prickly, but not enough to hurt us. Even though we knew this, we were still both scared of these cute little creatures. Everyone else around us seemed to be having so much fun, but it took us forever to finally build up the courage to hold one of them. Crystal was the brave one and went first, but the cute little thing didn't curl up like it did for the other customers sitting near us. It kept wanting to move around and was quite active.
Then it was my turn, but I was just so nervous to do it. One of the staff members saw how hesitant I was, so she picked the hedgehog up and placed it in the palm of my hands. I was thinking, "Hey, this isn't so bad after all," but then the hedgehog decided to give me a little bite. It didn't hurt, but it freaked me out a bit, so I immediately put it back in the box. Maybe it sensed that I was nervous, but after that incident, we were both scared of holding one again.
I wanted to learn more about these adorable creatures and chatted with Gabrielle, who works with hedgehogs everyday as a rescuer/breeder (Hog Wild Hedgehogs). She had both pros and cons to hedgehog cafes and summed it up by saying this :
"In all, I think it's a cute idea and a cool concept as long as the cafe raises quality hedgehogs in a safe environment, ensures that all patrons are participating proper sanitation, educates every potential buyer, and keeps their hogs fed, watered, warmed, socialized, happy and healthy. Hegies are the best and I'm glad so many people are catching on to their awesomeness."
We stayed at the cafe until our time was over, but we honestly felt that one hour was too long for us. We took some photos and walked around the room one more time before our time was up.
It's funny that we were so excited to visit this cafe, yet we left feeling a bit uncomfortable. A huge factor being that we were more afraid of hedgehogs than we thought and we got a pretty active one.
HARRY HEDGEHOG CAFE
ADDRESS: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-7-2, IWAHORI Building 2F (1 minute walk from Roppongi Station on the Higiya Line. Take Exit No. 3)
HOURS: Everyday 12PM - 9PM