Cat cafes have been around in Japan for quite some time now and the animal crazes have since expanded to owls, rabbits and even reptiles. But dogs are a recent addition, and as a huge dog lover I just had to check it out.
Nestled a few subway stops from the famous Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Dog Heart offers the opportunity to come play with dogs, or to even “rent” a dog for a few hours as you take it for a walk through Yoyogi Park. And to think there’s even a Dog Walker profession in the Western World, whereas in Japan as a dog owner you could get paid by someone else for simply letting them walk your dog!
Upon entering, you’ll see on the wall today’s dogs available for the normal cafe, such as play and petting (left side), and the ones available for walking rental (right side). As expected, most dogs are small sized, which the exception of one large Golden Retriever which was unusual given the small space. Prices start from ￥950 for 30 mins (which we opt for) and are then tiered to be better value, the longer you stay. You can also order drinks, although all the other patrons there seem to be only be there for the dogs.
It’s nice and novel, but surprisingly not as fun as I thought it would be. The dogs are super ecstatic the moment you enter the cafe, but after that they’re pretty docile and seem to be more interested in the workers with whom they’ve obviously bonded with. Some will just lie there and let you hug them/lay in your lap as you pat them, but they’re pretty non-responsive. They’re also quite yappy when someone walks/jogs past the window – I guess they want what they can’t get!
All in all, an interesting experience but a bit boring given that on this occasion the dogs seemed to ignore most of the guests. If I wanted to be ignored, I would’ve just gone to a cat café!
Dog Heart Cafe
2F Y’s Park Building, 1-45-2 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Open: Daily, 11 am – 7 pm