Pet cute rescued pooches while enjoying a beverage at dog cafe in western Tokyo
For Stars and Stripes March 24, 2023
If you love dogs and want to have one in your life or let your dog have a little more love and interaction, a café in western Tokyo can help.
Rescue Dog Cafe Tachikawa — about 25 minutes from Yokota Air Base — is part of the Hogoken chain, which has two other dog cafes in Osaka and one in Chiba. Other Hogoken cafes host cats, but all of the company’s locations house only rescue animals.
Many of these animals had a hard life and arrived in rough shape. Many have permanent disabilities, but through love and care from staff and customers they have come to trust and love humans once again.
There are about a dozen small dogs and two cats at Hogoken’s Tachikawa cafe. Most dogs roam around, jumping from lap to lap, while learning to socialize with people and other pets.
Upon entering the cafe, patrons are told the rules, including how to tell which dogs to feed and lift into your lap. These dogs need to be handled gently and blind dogs need to hear you before they are petted.
Once you agree to the rules, you are asked for your drink order. Before playing with the pups, each person must buy a drink, which costs 770 yen, or about $5.85, each. Offerings during my visit in February 2023 included chocolate milk, Japanese sodas and health drinks, teas and coffees.
On weekdays, one drink gets one person an hour to spend with the animals. On weekends, it buys you 40-45 minutes.
After ordering, you are offered a small mat to use as you sit on the floor to play with and pet the pooches.
Children are welcomed but those with children are told additional rules to protect the safety of the children and animals alike. Note that the cafe is not wheelchair or stroller accessible due to its small side and basement location.
The staff did not speak much English during my visit but had English translations available to show customers.
Rescue Dog Cafe Tachikawa also offers pet day care services to those with small dogs. Owners can sign up to drop off their pet during working hours. They benefit from knowing their dogs are well cared for and socialized, and the cafe benefits by having new pets that customers can play with.
Dogs that do not belong to the cafe are not allowed to be picked up and put into a customer’s lap unless they ask the owner for permission.
Blind dogs are also not allowed to be placed in a person’s lap, but all other puppies can be lap dogs as long as the dog allows. Unless they are labeled “NG,” dogs at the cafe can be given treats. These treats can be purchased for about 500 yen.
Dogs that are not yet ready to have multiple strangers hold or pet them are kept in pens, and the cats have large multitiered kennels they roam in.
All dogs are required to be in outfits and diapers. This is so there is no smell, mess or pet hair in the cafe.
The place was very clean; I have a bad cat allergy and therefore avoided the cat kennel, but surprisingly I had no reaction or symptoms of allergies during the 45 minutes I spent in the cafe.
The dogs are all small and friendly. There are many breeds of dogs and there is almost always a dog within reach.
All pets belonging to Rescue Dog Cafe Tachikawa are available to be fostered and adopted.
Rescue Dog Cafe Tachikawa
Location: 2 Chome-12-7 Fujimicho, Tachikawa, Tokyo 190-0013
Hours: Noon to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
Prices: 770 yen for most drinks and snacks. Credit cards are accepted.
Directions: About a 10- to 15-minute walk from Tachikawa Station.