Ever since our beloved Lola passed away last fall, my family has been missing a dog in our lives. We joke all the time that our son is really our second child; by the time Lola was his age, I’d rewritten dozens and dozens of songs to feature her prominently.
Our son… doesn’t have any. He has one bedtime song where I only replaced the word ‘someone’ with his name. Classic second child.
All this to say that when we heard that one of the more unique aspects of living in Japan is the crazy animal cafes available to us, we absolutely had to start with dogs. We called up two friends who we thought would be up for the adventure and set off toward Shibuya’s Dog Heart cafe.
From the moment we arrived, it was everything I’d hoped for. My son happily popped on the indoor toddler slippers they had available, and we stepped into the gate… to chaos.
The beagles had obviously been waiting for someone just their size to pounce upon. My son was a bit overwhelmed, but it didn’t last for long once he saw this sweet Golden retriever just dying for a back rub.
Once he’d started to settle in, our friends introduced him to some of the sweeter, less bouncy dogs, like the snuggly poodles.
They were little cuddle bugs who only wanted to snuggle into you and stay forever, happily snoozing the afternoon away in the complete comfort of a lap. They just jumped right up and settled in. Like this little lady…
Who didn’t want to leave my lap, no matter who else came to join us.
When it was time for the people to leave, the dogs snuggled right up to each other instead.
Although they tried to get a few more last-minute snuggles in before it was time for us to go!
Dog Heart Cafe wasn’t quite a cafe – we didn’t order any food or drink while we were there, just snuggled the dogs until our thirty minutes were up. You can also ‘rent’ the dogs for an hour to take them on a walk in nearby Yoyogi Park, which I think would be the absolute easiest way to get a date if you were single in Japan.
This definitely kicked off an absolute obsession with the rest of Tokyo’s animal cafes – there’s quite a few we plan to explore soon, including a return trip to a cat cafe (apparently some of them are ‘calming’ and ‘relaxing’ and if you bring a super-excited two-year-old who just wants to go pet some cats, they will ask you kindly to leave), a trip to the brand-new hedgehog cafe, and hopefully a trip or two to an owl or rabbit cafe!
Dog Heart cafe is about a five-minute walk from Yoyogi-Koen station. Your thirty minutes are self-timed, so keep an eye on the clock! We loved just snuggling the animals there, but on a gorgeous day it would be so fun to take one of the sweet dogs out for an hour or so to the nearby greenery of Yoyogi Park. Enjoy!