Nekobukuro is a mini theme park where 20 cats roam free so you can play with them. The walls are fitted out with shelves and boxes that the cats can jump to and walk around on. There’s even an overhead plank that spans two rooms for quick escapes and pirate games.
When they are ready for catnaps, there’s no shortage of places to conk out. In addition to shelves, there is all sorts of soft cat furniture. The cat-shaped TV plays videos of the Nekobukuro Idol Cats while Anpanman narrates with facts and jokes.
There are cats in every size, shape and color you can imagine. Rare breeds, like the wrinkly, hairless Sphinx and giagantic Maine coon, live behind glass but are rotated through the mix. While we were there a yowly little Tonkinese was out of her room and playing with visitors.
Some cats were disdainful or wary, others playful and happy to have a pat. I tried to engage one cat with a feather toy, but it wanted to chase string. Next time, I’ll sneak in the laser pointer and see what happens.
This is a clever idea in a country where a kitten costs 120,000 yen and not too many apartments allow pets. I enjoyed interacting with the cats for a little while and the dozen other people, some with cameras and some on dates, seemed to be having fun, too.
Although the rooms are well ventilated, there’s a faint scent of litter box. After after 15 minutes, my eyes were itchy. We hadn’t really handled the cats as much as observed them, so we didn’t need to use the cat-hair lint removers at the door.
Location: Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro, 8th floor.
Hours: 10:00 -20:00
Admission: 600 yen (1,000 yen “pair ticket”)
See also: Cats Livin’, Cat Park, Dog Forest, Dog Town, Ferret Friends at the same website.