Go fishing, do some handicrafts, or just enjoy a nice cuppa with hedgehogs at these delightfully odd cafés.
In an age of Internet dating, first dates with complete strangers are an increasingly common phenomenon. While going for coffee or tea is a pretty safe bet, if you’re looking for something to stand out from the crowd (or provide a talking point to disguise your inadequate social skills) you could do far worse than try out one of these new styles of café. Then again, you may just want to try these out on your own!
1. Hogurest Café – Foot Spa Café
In many onsen towns around Japan you can find public foot baths where you can stop, sit down and soak your weary feet. Hogurest Café, in Tokyo’s Taito Ward, takes this concept to another level by allowing you to relax in comfort by plunging your feet into hot, mineral-laden water as you sip your hot beverage of choice. The hot water is said to relieve stress and improve circulation, which is perfect for calming first-date nerves or forgetting the constant barrage of noise and lights that is the Japanese capital.
2. Fab Café – Design-and-create café
From enlightenment salons to elaborate designs concocted on napkins, cafés and creativity go hand-in-hand. At the Fab Café (short for fabricate, as opposed to fabulous) in Shibuya, customers can agitate their creative juices with caffeine before making their designs come to life with the café’s laser cutters and 3D printers.
It’s also possible to put that creativity to work on your café experience as customers can design and make their own stencils, one use of which is to produce stunning cocoa powder designs on drinks, or by using the cafe’s specialist food laser cutter to etch designs onto macaroons. Fab Café’s workshops for new visitors also include how to make items like hand mirrors, phone cases, wooden stamps and tote bags.
3. Mishin Sewing Machine Café
Perhaps you’d rather be making, or repairing, clothes while you chat and drink to your potential amour. In which case, you can show off your design flair and dextrous thimble use at a sewing machine café in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward.
The walls are covered in threads of assorted colours for you to embroider whatever you like; a perfect memento of the time you took your date to a sewing machine café/first-world-sweatshop experience.
As the summer draws slowly to an end, the chances to go and sit by a lake fishing and barbecuing disappear. But what if you could fish in any weather, unperturbed by insects and while sipping on a cup of coffee? The Catch-and-Eat café in Tokyo allows you to do this.
Surely both men and women admire a partner who can provide for their families, so show off your hunter-gatherer skills by gripping your tiny fishing rod and doing battle. After inevitably catching a mighty haul, the staff will then batter and deep fry your fishy trophies for you to eat.
5. Harry Café – Hedgehog café
Harry Café, in Roppongi, (which we’ve reviewed before) is named after the Japanese word for hedgehog: harinezumi (which literally, and adorably, translates to “needle mouse”). Like its cat, dog and owl counterparts, the hedgehog cafe allows you to sit amongst hedgehogs, where you can touch and pet them to your heart’s content.
Should you, or your date, fall in love with a particular hedgehog, you can even choose to take them home as they are all available to buy, with the café staff providing information on how to care for your new pet.
When a normal café won’t do, Tokyo continues to surprise, excite and often confuse us. They all serve the purpose of providing an interesting talking point, but if your budget won’t stretch to these options, maybe you could try a beef bowl lunch at Yoshinoya instead.
Address: Tokyo-to, Taito-ku 4-8-5, T&T Okachimachi building 3F
東京都台東区4丁目8-5 T&T御徒町ビル 3F
Open: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Dogenzaka 1-22-7, Dogenzaka Pier 1F
東京都渋谷区道玄坂1丁目22-7 道玄坂ピア 1F
Open: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sundays and Public Holidays 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Address: Tokyo-to, Setagaya-ku, Kamisoshigaya 7-19-16
Open: Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays and Public Holidays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Address: Tokyo-to, Nerima-ku, Nerima 1-35-1-106
Open: Monday-Friday 3 p.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m.-11 p.m., Sundays and Public Holidays 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Harry Hedgehog Café/ハリネズミ専門店Harry
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-7-2, Iwahori Building 2F
東京都港区六本木6丁目7-2 IWAHORIビル 2F
Open: 12 p.m.-8 p.m.