When I went to Tokyo (for a day!) in June 2017 my number one thing to do was go to a hedgehog cafe. There were only two in town at that point and the queues were out the door – fast forward less than a year to my most recent trip in May 2018 and there are hedgehogs to cuddle pretty much anywhere that serves a latte – but one hedgehog cafe in Shibuya called Chiku Chiku stands out from the crowd. All its spiky charges live in tiny rooms like a doll’s house.
If you’ve ever wanted to see what a hedgehog would look like if he/she lived in a house with a tiny lounge; had a zen garden, spent time in a classroom or even took a bath, Chiku Chiku is going to make your day.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra. The direct Chiku Chiku links are not among these.
Chiku Chiku Hedgehog Cafe is located in a side street of bustling Shibuya, about a five-minute walk from the famous busy crossing. Once you spot the handy hedgehog sign outside, you’ll head up a couple of flights of stairs and open the door to a pastel wonderland.
Along the walls are about 10 hedgehog tanks, each fitted out like a tiny room in a dolls house with furniture and paintings. Next to each room is a little bowl of tiny hats and flower crowns for the hedgies to wear (although good luck with that, they shook them off whenever I tried to place one on their little heads) and frankly, the super-cuteness level is at DEFCON one!.
There are about 10 hedgehogs in their little tanks at any one time (and lots more having snoozes in a resting tank in the middle or the off-duty area).
We had made a reservation online to get there at 5 pm on Saturday evening and when we arrived, there were only two other people in the room, what this meant was simple
All of the hedgehogs were ours to play with! ALL OF THEM.
Instead of being allocated a tank with one or two critters to play with, we could play with someone for a little while and then, when they fell back to sleep, move to the next tank to visit someone else.
Each time we moved the staff came to check on the tank’s inhabitant, told us their name and a little bit about their personality – whether they were friendly, feisty, grumpy or wriggly.
Admittedly, hedgehogs are nocturnal and despite the fact that it was getting towards breakfast their time, most of them seemed to have adopted ‘sleepy’ as their primary personality trait.
We, however, had purchased hedgehog snacks which got them snuffling for a few minutes. Well, most of them – this guy was so fast asleep on a tiny heat pad in the corner of his school room, there was no way we were going to disturb him – look at that face.
Picking up a hedgehog is not as simple as you might think – they are spiky after all – and so, you’re given what looks like a large oven glove to handle them.
There’s also an art to catching them, you have to scoop them up in two hards as if you were scooping up water, which is no problem at all if you have a sleepy hedgehog, they just curl up in your hand and nap, but not so easy when you have one who wants to make a break for it, using your arms as its escape route.
One thing I liked about Chiku Chiku as opposed to the other cafes I’ve been to is that the tanks have a front that you can remove, so, you don’t have to lift the hedgehogs very high to interact with them, in fact, we mostly just let them come to us like this inquisitive fella below.
How Much is Chiku Chiku?
It costs 1300 yen for 30 minutes with the hedgehogs – now, when I went to my first hedgehog cafe I said 30 minutes was enough, but, because of the differently themed tanks at Chiku Chiku, you might want to splurge on an hour-long visit which is 2500 yen to allow for maximum cute hedgehog photography time. If you want to buy snacks – which I definitely recommend, then it’s an additional 400 yen.
How Do You Make A Reservation?
You can email them via the reservation button on their website with the time and day you prefer and they will come back to you after a couple of days to let you know everything is confirmed. It’s fine to do this in English. You then pay them directly on the day.
This is what I did so we knew we had a slot – although the cafe was actually fairly empty at the time I picked.
Admittedly, this was Golden Week in Tokyo when a lot of local folk travel away so it might still be better to be safe than sorry on a normal weekend and book.
Do they have any other animals to play with?
No, this is a hedgehog only deal. If you want to play with hedgehogs and other animals, then check out Harry’s Harajuku Zoo which I also visited on this trip. They also have otters, chinchilla and bunnies who want snacks and cuddles (see video for ultimate slow-mo otter cuteness here).
Harry’s Harajuku Zoo don’t take reservations directly in English, but you can book a specific time via Get Your Guide which is how I did it as my friend and I had a lot to cram in and didn’t want to be waiting in line.
Aggh, Chiku Chiku is full the day I want to go, any other places I can try?
I’ve also been to Harry Hedgehog Cafe in Harajuku which I’d recommend (see my post on that here), and they have another branch in Roppongi which was the original hedgehog cafe in Tokyo.
There are plenty more cafes around, but I wouldn’t want to recommend one I hadn’t been to personally – we went to another animal cafe in Tokyo with owls and other animals after seeing their advert on the street and it was awful. Dark, crowded and some of the animals were very unhappy or not in good shape so there are bad ones out there.
And yes, while I’m aware there is a debate as to whether all animal cafes are bad, I’m not going to get into it, here, but what I can say is that at Chiku Chiku and the two Harry branches I have been to the animals are well cared for and cages are clean (one of our hedgehogs pooped and they immediately came over to clean things up).
All the hedgehogs we saw had access to water and many tanks had heat pads – and they do rest their stars regularly – as well as this show tank, they also had an area completely away from people.
Like what you see? Then check out the Chiku Chiku website for all the details of how to book and where to find them. It really is one of those ‘only in Tokyo’ experiences.
Top Tip: Chances are you’re going to want to Facebook your hedgie pictures IMMEDIATELY, so you’re going to need a SIM card. I get my Japan SIM cards from Klook and pick them up at the airport. Here’s where to find out more.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra. The Chiku Chiku links are not among these.
Sharing is Caring
If you love the cutest hedgehogs, why not share them on Pinterest so other people can find them too – or share the post somewhere else. The hedgehogs don’t mind internet stardom.