BiBi & GeorGe Kobe Fukurou Cafe

Animal cafes are so deeply entrenched into Japanese society now that it is not hard to find a cat cafe in every city. What IS hard to find, surprisingly, is a proper dog cafe. I have to conclude that nobody wants to deal with animals that are more high-maintenance and vigorous compared to animals like cats, bunnies, and birds.

Owl cafes have been popping up in Japan, too. Harry Potter definitely contributed to their popularity.

Being a city female to the highest degree, I have never seen an owl up-close and personal the way owl cafes promise owls to be, and I pencilled one into my schedule.

So, this time around, I ended up going to the BiBi & GeorGe Kobe Fukurou Cafe, a small shop with multiple different types of owls from around the world.

Note: Owl cafe sounds fun, and it really is. However, for me, one visit to see these creatures up close and personal is enough, and I do not think I will be pencilling in another trip to visit an owl cafe next time I am back in Japan, unless I am with people who really want to go. I will not suggest an owl cafe as a must-do. Why? You will see.

To get to the BiBi & GeorGe Kobe Fukurou Cafe, you get off at the Motomachi JR Station. You then leave it up to your gorgeous Japanese friend to find the cafe on their Japanese phone, because you have nearly run out of data on your own phone and need to rely on them.

 Don't have a gorgeous Japanese friend? Too bad.

The cafe operates with a vending machine outside its premises. You can buy tickets indicating what drinks and snacks you will like to have during your hour in the cafe.

I am not too sure about this, but I believe each visitors get to go in only on the dot of each time change. If you are hanging around outside at 4.30PM, you can wait until 5PM. The minimum you have to spend per hour is ¥1,000. The fare increases with the drinks and snacks you choose.

The shop has three floors. On the first floor, you will meet Sakura, a 3KG owl that is not impressed with you.

The second floor is a space devoid of owls (except stuffed ones), and is for you to consume your beverage and snacks. You can also leave your bags there when you make your way to visit the owls. Apart from Sakura and some tiny owls on the bottom floor, the majority of the owls will all be on the third floor. Behind each owl are several pictures of them in their growing stages, as well as an information card that contains their names, their breed, and their weight.


There is a watchful staff member who will watch your interactions with the owls, and tell you what signs to look out for to see if the owl is in discomfort with/ hates the way you are touching it. One of the owls were on a break during my hour in the cafe, which means no one gets to touch or interact with that one.

There are plenty of other owls to pay attention to and take pictures of, however!

I fawned over their beautiful feathers and cute faces, though I am always mindful of the sharp beaks.

Each of the owls had their own distinct personalities, of course. Some of them revelled in the attention and adored being touched.

Others would pretend you didn't exist. The above owl is the smallest in the shop, and is named Nanami. Nanami weighs only 118 grams. At first glance, with her unmoving stance, I actually thought she was a toy until it was proven otherwise.

You get to take pictures with one of the owls on your arm. You have to wear a thick leather glove to avoid being digged in with those talons, and I got to hold Nanami on my arm in the duration I was there. :)

I enjoyed my time at the owl cafe, getting to see and touching all these beautiful creatures up close. It is definitely an opportunity, but at the same time, another part of me found my excursion to the owl cafe uncomfortable.

They were all chained to their positions by their feet, which made me feel uncomfortable for them.

Now, I am sure that these owls are well-fed and well-taken cared of. For a human, that is probably a life many want and do not get - to be fed and taken cared of, with a shelter over one's head.

If I am an owl, however, I imagine that I would prefer something else even more... and that something else will be to use my wings and soar in the sky at night.

I suppose this is no different to owning birds and keeping them in bird cages. There is a reason why I have never wanted to own birds, however, and that reasoning felt intensified during my time in the owl cafe.

For a novelty factor, sure the owl cafe is fun and great to visit. Some of the owls may even like it there. Honestly, though? After the novelty factor wore off for me, however, I just felt like I would not want to come back again, the way I would to a cat cafe. It sort of feels like buying from a pet store, when I should really be buying from a responsible breeder or consider adopting.

It is, however, definitely an fairly pleasant unique experience, seeing so many owls up close. I will treasure these pictures I took with these magnificent birds. :)