Osaka Owl Family Cafe will have you “owling” for more
Japan is well known for it’s animal-themed cafes (cat/dog/rabbit/reptile) which are popular with locals who are unable to keep any pets with limited space in small apartments. Now becoming popular are owl cafes. The owl café is not for everyone, probably not for hardcore animal lovers who are concerned with the well-being of the animal’s welfare, rights and such.
If it makes anyone feel better, what we saw was that the owls were well taken care of with experienced staff and strict procedures in place to make sure they were comfortable and well-looked after. The facility was also spotless and everything was well-organised.
No flash photography and videography is allowed in the cafe.
The Family Owl Cafe in Osaka is located near Minamimorichimachi Station, a quick 5 minute walk down the old arcade lane. Once you reach Minamimorichimachi station, take exit 2, turn right and cross the lights. Once you cross the lights on your right you will see a Mini Mini real estate store, a long arcade and a Sukiya opposite. Walk down the arcade and you will see the Family Owl café on your left.
Café Opening hours and reservations
The café opening hours are 12pm from Wednesday to Friday and 11am for weekends. The only way you can make a reservation is to turn up at the café and get your name on the list for the next available slot (ie: if you arrive at 11am, 11am might be full, therefore you can reserve for a 12pm slot if that is not full etc). The amount of people they can fit into one sitting is 20 or so. Over the phone reservations cannot be made.
Cost of Owl Café and time with the Owls
The cost of entry is free, but you have to buy a beverage, either cup of tea or coffee for 1000 yen per person (~US$10). The tea and coffee taste absolutely horrible, but for that you get to spend a decent 45-50 minutes with the owls. 10 minutes at the start, the owl handlers will go into detail on how to handle the owls safely. There are guides translating in English how to handle the owls. Then it’s time to play. Hoot Hoot.
Dos and Don’ts of handling the owls
Follow the simple guide and you can’t go wrong.
Yes last thing watch out for is the owl’s poo, owls will tend to release their bowels at any given moment, which only happened once to a girl in our group on her arm. So best of luck, hopefully you’re the lucky one without poop on your head.
Are the Birds well taken care of?
When we were there for a good hour, we felt that the owls were well taken care of. All the windows had shutters to reduce the amount of light coming in, and lights were not as bright inside the cafe. The owls that were used for the hour’s play were immediately rested, and when we ask staff how long they rest for, they said at least 4 hours between interactions.
There were about over 20 owls. All the owls seem willing, calm, and are all tethered except for a large Siberian owl. You can hold them, pet them, have them perched on your head for a selfie while they bounce and bob curiously.
The owls looked well-fed and rested from what we saw. There was a sad point when one young owl tried constantly to fly away but its feet was tied to the pole. The owl next to it just continued sleeping, and the little flapping owl eventually stopped after 10 minutes. The whole thing from our point of view seemed well managed in a controlled environment with trainers who knew what they were doing. However I can see how it can be seen as controversial so it’s not for everyone.
Personally Cheryl didn’t mind the owl café, but was not very keen to see it, but once she saw how irresistibly cute and soft the owls are it was game over. For me I loved the experience of handling the owls and was glad to be able to have this unique experience during our time in Osaka.
We would love to hear if you had a similar experience!
Disclaimer: This post is 100% based on our personal experience and is in no way sponsored by any of the companies mentioned above.