Recently, I had the grand sum of eight hours in Tokyo – and two things I had to achieve in that time. Buy a dress for my friend’s rabbit (yes that’s a thing) and cuddle a hedgehog at the new branch of Harry Hedgehog Cafe Harajuku. Not surprisingly as you’re reading a post about it – meeting the spiky ones was mission accomplished, and omg, the cuteness!
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The Harajuku hedgehog cafe is the second Harry Hedgehog cafe in Tokyo, the first is in Roppongi – my original plan was to go here as it actually takes bookings which lets you queue jump, but rabbit dresses can only be purchased from one shop in Harajuku and so off I headed to the mothership of all things cute (or should I say kawaii) in Japan.
What Happens When You Get To Harry Harajuku?
Harry’s opens at noon and I arrived about 12.30 – the queue at this point was only about 10 people long and even though there were already plenty of hedgie fans having cuddles I probably only waited 10 minutes.
Because I was on my own I opted for the half an hour hedgehog visit.
I also added some mealworms to feed my new friends in a blatant attempt to make them love me which meant the fee for my visit was Y1630 (about £11.50 or AUD$19). Note: you don’t pay the staff the money, instead you feed it into the machine on the counter. It took me a few minutes of smiling and waving my yen before I realised this was the plan.
Once you’ve paid and sanitised your hands, you’re all set for petting a hedgehog.
And at this point, the staff will show you correct hedgehog handling procedure. Effectively you scoop them up with your cupped hands as if you were scooping water out of a bucket. Spiky, adorable water that snuffles.
Again, I got a bit lost in translation here. Most of the people before me in the queue had been taken to big buckety like hedgehog pens in the middle of the room. I was at a shelf-like bar by the cash desk with two hedgehogs in a large glass tank in front of me – and so I thought, I was in some kind of waiting area and would soon be escorted to the middle when a place came free.
It was only when the staff came to see why I wasn’t actually petting a hedgehog and squealing with spike-induced joy that I realised these were actually my hedgehogs to play with.
Cuddling The Hedgehogs
At last the bit you were waiting for – what it’s like to hold a hedgehog. Well, just repeatedly shriek squee in a high pitched voice of feverish excitement and you’ll get the picture.
My two hedgies couldn’t have been more different in personality – Snoozy, as I called him, was super docile and once he’d realised that I was a soft touch basically curled up in my hand and went to sleep.
At this point, I’m stuck – thrilled as I am that he feels secure enough in my presence to have a nap, once I’d taken 27 pictures of him, he’s actually getting quite heavy – but I don’t want to wake him up by putting him down!
This went on for about five minutes before he did the hedgehog equivalent of turning over to find the cold bit of the pillow and I felt I could put him down and pick up Hedgie 2.
If Snoozy was made for a life of cuddles, Wriggly not so much – once he’d hoovered up my mealworm bribe, I attempted to scoop him up – unlike Snoozy who’d immediately settled into a ball, Wriggly was off attempting to climb up my arms and out of the tank.
It was like trying to wrangle a particularly truculent toddler – with spikes! After about 3-4 minutes I gave up and went back to Snoozy!
Destination>Differentville Tip: While at the time of writing Harry Hedgehog Cafe Harajuku wasn’t offering reservations, if the queue is too long or you want to come back at a specific time, you can go in and make a reservation in person. From what I could gather from the girls behind me doing exactly that, reservations are only for an hour-long cuddling session and so will cost Y2400.
How Long Do You Need at a Hedgehog Cafe?
I think I probably only spent about 20 minutes in the cafe. That was enough to get a billion cute pictures, store up some super cute memories and strike another one of my ‘must do’s’ off my bucket list. I think unless there’s more than two of you, the half an hour session at Harry Harajuku is more than enough
Oh, and just to leave you with a final piece of useful (?) information – I first heard about the hedgehog cafe from the brilliant Only in Japan blog where blogmeister Jonelle pointed out that the Japanese word for hedgehog is hari-nezumi – the direct translation for which is needle mouse! Which frankly is one of those facts that you can never forget once you hear it!
This is also why harinezumi is the web address for the Harry Hedgehog Cafe!
Is Harry Harajuku the Best Hedgehog Cafe in Tokyo?
When I first wrote this post, hedgehog cafes were a new thing in Tokyo, I’ve been back since and they are now everywhere and there is now more than one hedgehog cafe in Harajuku.
However, on my last trip I went to a few different animal cafes and from what I’ve seen, yes, Harry Harajuku is among the best hedgehog cafes in Tokyo in that it’s clean, quiet and there’s lots of space for the hedgehogs.
Lots of hedgehogs also mean they get time off. Cafes with only one or two hedgehogs see their little spiky charges ‘on set’ all day.
Whether Harry’s is now the cutest Hedgehog Cafe in Tokyo though, I’m not sure – I also went to a hedgehog cafe in Shibuya on this trip called Chiku Chiku where the hedgehog tanks are done out like tiny rooms in dollhouses. If that sounds adorable, then you’ll find out more about it here.
Or, if you’re already sold by the adorable picture below, then you can book tickets in advance here.
I do have a soft spot for Snoozy and Wriggly though – I actually found them to be the most lively of all the hedgehogs I’ve met so far (yes, even Snoozy!). I’m not sure if this was because Harry Harajuku was so new when I went and so the hedgehogs were enjoying being handled still or if I just got lucky with a couple of, particularly friendly ones!
Look at The Cuteness
How to Find Harry Hedgehog Cafe in Harajuku?
Actually, it’s very simple to find. Not least because there is someone standing outside holding a gigantic picture of a hedgehog!
Should they be on their tea break though, Harry’s is about a minute’s walk away from Harajuku station – if you come out of that station, you’ll see a branch of The Gap on the other side of the road, head toward it and Harry’s is just around the next corner on your left – if you reach Nike you’ve walked past it.
The official address of Harry Hedgehog Cafe is Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae1-13-21 . It’s upstairs so there’s no obvious frontage but if you see a couple of restaurants in front of you and a lift to your left you’re in the right place. There’s also an obvious sign for a hair salon called Lalma Mit on the wall of the lift shaft.
When you get there, either go up in the lift to the top floor (if there’s a queue, they’ll send you back down the stairs to join it), or climb up the stairs until you hit the back of the queue.
For a map and all the other details on the cafe, check out the English section of their website. They are open seven days a week from 12-8.
Other Useful Information
What Else is Near the Harry Cafe Harajuku?
Harry Harajuku is steps from Takeshita Street which is the main thoroughfare in Harajuku. It’s good fun, but don’t miss out on wandering the backstreets in the area to find more cute clothes shops, fabulously dressed people and just general Tokyo-ness. I literally just wandered the streets for about two hours and still didn’t have time to get to everything I wanted to see.
Harry’s Hedgehog Cafe Harajuku site is also a short walk from the must-see Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park which is a brilliant place for people watching on a Sunday.
If you love all things cute and kawaii in Tokyo, you might also want to book a session at the Tokyo Kawaii Monster Cafe which is near Harry. It’s an explosion of colour full of giant lollipops, dancing staff, unicorns and something called the Mushroom Disco! It’s insanely popular, so unless you want to queue for ages, then book your tickets in advance.
You can also book a tour of Harajuku which includes like at the Monster Cafe – added bonus of this, someone local who can explain what the heck is going on. Click here if that sounds like fun and you want to check it out.
Another must do in Harajuku – trying all the super cute food you’ll find on the street. If you want giant rainbow coloured candy floss, rainbow coloured cheese toasties or ice creams shaped like animals, Harakuju has them all. I covered a few in this guide to unique things to do in Tokyo.
And talking on trends – micropig cafes is the next big thing in animal cafes. I havent visited on yet, maybe on my next trip.
Tokyo metro system is extremely easy to use. Everything is in English and you work out how much your ride costs by looking at a map above the ticket machine. find your station and you’ll see a three-figured number – that’s how much it costs to get there from where you are now (you can also buy a PASMO card that you fill with cash – handy as you can also use it in convenience stores).
One thing that catches me out every time though as that it’s not like the London tube when it comes to buying tickets.
If a station has more than one line connecting to it and they are run by different rail companies, you can only buy a ticket for your line in the specific area your line is found. I’ve spent way too many hours staring at maps trying to work out my fare and wondering why my end stop wasn’t on there – and then realised I wasn’t at the right set of ticket machines yet.
Another top tip, stations are often very close to each other so, if your journey involves lots of convoluted changes, have a look at the other nearby lines and you might find a less obvious station offers a quicker journey. I didn’t get a SIM card on this trip, but I did use the free CityMaps2Go app – my only criticism is it really drains your batteries. On my last trip, I booked my SIM from Klook. I picked it up at the airport and it lasted me eight days with no problems. I fyou need to stay longer, just pick up two SIMs (I did that too!).
Where to Stay
I didn’t stay in Tokyo this time, but I normally I stay at Shinjuku Citadines and definitely recommend it.
It’s good value for money and the rooms are enormous by Tokyo standards – there is a decent size bedroom, a small lounge and a kitchenette.
It’s also a brilliant combination of close to everything, but, in a residential area of the city – wander out around the back streets and you’ll see local mom and pop shops and restaurants (including one of the best bowls of ramen I had on my trip) and might even stumble upon a local street festival.
If you’re looking to stay in Harajuku though, you might want to try the Trunk Hotel which really is in the middle of everything. Or, for a bit more of a budget alternative, have a look at the Dorny Inn Premium Shibuya, which again is in a great location for exploring all things Harajuku.
Or, find a full list of hotels with prices and pictures here.
Sharing is Caring
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