UPDATED: MIMI ウサギカフェ〜 (Rabbit and Otter Cafe, Ikebukuro)

UPDATED BLOG:

This cafe is probably my most オススメ (recommended) of all of the animal cafes that I have been to. Rabbits unlike dogs, cats, birds, penguins and owls are quite different. With the very few people coming here it is the perfect cafe to go to, and I would prefer it over cat and dog cafes anytime. NEW UPDATE: The location has now changed to B1 level of the building instead of the top floor. Rates have also increased by 100Yen since the last time I was here last March 2018.

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Here is the cafes sign on the 8th floor of the building. You will have to knock.

This is how the front of the building looks like in case you get lost just look for Dennys on Sunshine Dori.

This is how the front of the building looks like in case you get lost just look for Dennys on Sunshine Dori.

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Smile! Cute rabbits everywhere!

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Hello bunny!

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Here are my two favorite rabbits

 

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They now have a few naughty otters too! 

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The place is really small and cute and you will get your moneys worth. The staff are really friendly here too although they do not really speak English, they will try. They keep most of their rabbits in the cage and they separate the older ones with the younger ones to avoid any fighting. Then they let the rabbits take turns, so they set out about 10 rabbits and then during the afternoon they will change the set of rabbits. They have about 30 rabbits in the place according to them.

Location: If you know Sunshine Dori along Ikebukuro with the Milky Way cafe on the corner. You just have to walk straight ahead and look for Dennys to your right, after you pass Dennys you will see a building with a sign with Rabbits. The Usagi Cafe is now at B1 level and not the 8th floor.

Price: The rate is ¥900 for 30 mins and ¥1300 for 60 mins which comes with a drink already for weekdays. For weekends it is the same rate except for 60 mins it will be ¥1400.

いけふくろカフェー (Ikefukuro Cafe), Ikebukuro

Japan is known to have the weirdest cafes, Ive been to a cat, dog, penguin, rabbit and reptile cafe and so far this is the first time that I actually encountered a Fukuro (Owl) cafe while walking around Tokyo. We were not able to make a reservation earlier so we just went there to make a later reservation. I have heard of many other owl cafes around Tokyo but this one was the most convenient to go to after class and we wanted to go to the famous bookstore across the building of where the owl cafe is.

Location: If you are familiar with the giant Karaoke place in Ikebukuro right beside Jukudo Bookstore, the really big one. It looks like the picture below and it is located on the 6th floor of the building. There is a soba store downstairs where tons of people line up so you will not miss it. If you also know where Mujirushi (MUJI) is then you just walk straight ahead until the stoplight and it is the building to the right.

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Here is the bottom of the building.

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This is the building. The one to the left of the building where Matsumoto Kiyoshi is

I really felt bad for the owls because when I asked them about how old they were. They told me that they were only about 3 months (was the youngest)  to 2 years old (was the oldest). And they do not get to go out of the cafe EVER, they stay there all day and night and the windows and curtains are shut as they are tied to their posts. Of course it was nice to see an owl but I did not like the idea that I supported such cafe to keep them in such a small area. I understand that they are treated well and fed well but I wish they could be set free after a certain period.

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Suspicious face

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some pretty owls

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You can ask them to help you so you could touch the owls.

Price: The price is ¥1400 an hour which comes with a free drink. For alcoholic drinks and soft drinks is ¥1500.

I would not come back to the cafe again, to be honest I really felt bad even just to blog about this since I felt like it was as if I was supporting animal cruelty. I wish that the owls could be given a place to stay where they could fly as it is very far from their natural habitat. Unlike cat and dog cafes where they are used to being domesticated and take turns everyday in entertaining us humans. Owls i think are quite different since they are not really kept as pets (right?) well I guess it would be nice to try once, but i would not try it twice.

ル ブルターニュ(LE BRETAGNE), Kagurazaka

I finally had the chance to go to Le Bretagne with my friend Solene. I was so excited to try this place with her because of course it is very rare for me to actually be going out in Japan of all places with a French girl to an authentic French restaurant.  I would not have even expected to know where the restaurant was if not for her because it is very well hidden between one of the small side streets along Kagurazaka. She can vouch for its authenticity as she was telling me the whole time that this is the real french food that you can only find around her province in Bretagne (ブルターニュ).  They also have other branches around Tokyo but she also tells me that this is probably her favorite branch because of the ambiance of the place.  (They have many branches of the place around France and soon in New york too check out their website)

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Here is the view from the outside. It is open area and very cozy just like around France as Solene tells me.

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You will see many paintings and postcards inside. It was very crowded today but you will feel right at home as soon as you walk in.

 

The main thing that they serve here are Galettes and she tells me that it is really simple and cheap food in france but I guess its a bit overpriced in Japan. I will not really complain though about the price since where can you really get a taste of real Galettes in Japan? I also had a taste of their Cider, and I bought a bottle to take home after since Solene taught me where I could buy the Cider. (My grandmother loved it)

How can something as simple taste so good? I guess the secret is in the chef and the owner of the restaurant. He is an actual french from the same region my friend comes from, and is now living in Japan. I was also very impressed with the service and ambiance the restaurant offered. The staff of the restaurant are required to speak in French with each other regardless of the fact that they are Japanese. So it was really interesting because you would hear a lot of French around the Kitchen as you are eating. The servers can also speak in Japanese of course and some can speak in English, it was really refreshing.

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Galette: Bretonne ( ブレトンヌ)Mushrooms, Bacon, Scrambled egg, cheese, fresh cream from Hokkaido, Espelette pepper

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Quimperoise(カンペロワーズ)Homemade stewed apples, salted butter caramel and vanilla ice cream.

I cannot wait to take a lot more friends here to the restaurant. Also my grandmother and I are planning to reserve for lunch at the restaurant this week. It gets pretty crowded around the weekend so it is best to make a reservation before you come here. I am sure that you will not regret coming, and if you don’t like the French Galettes you have the option to choose their other Galettes which were adjusted to the Japanese taste. Otherwise I will recommend these that my Solene recommended to try since she tells me that these are the usual Galettes that they have in her hometown.

Recommendations by Solene: For the Galletes she recommends the Bretonne ( ブレトンヌ)and the Broceliande(ブロッセリアンド)and for the dessert Crepes with ice cream she recommends the Quimperoise(カンペロワーズ)and of course do not forget to drink their Cider! They have alcoholic and non alcoholic ones.

Where to find the store: If you are familiar with Kagurazaka you will know that there is a red temple somewhere there. Right in front of the temple and a little to the right is an udon store (うどん) There is a street there, and if you walk straight inside till the end you will see it to the left. You will not miss it for sure. Here is their website in case you want to take an early reservation because they get crowded during the weekend: Kagurazaka, Le Bretagne

Going around Tokyo: Kagurazaka (神楽坂)

Kagurazaka according to my grandmother was once part of the outer edge of the Edo castle. They were known for their geisha houses and until today you will still see people walking around in their Kimonos around the area, and there are still some houses and geisha houses that remain preserved here since the Edo period. The long slope filled with different Japanese shops are also known to have a lot of French influence as well. The  l’Institut Franco-Japonais de Tokyo is located near here and because of that there are many French living around the area. If you go up the slope you will notice plenty of french cafes and restaurants. My friend Solene will take me to the best one on Sunday since she says that they serve, and this is according to her “Real french food that you can’t even find in all of france”.

Along with french food, cafes and bakerys, there are also famous Japanese Ryoteis around the different streets. Ryoteis are places where you can eat inexpensive “kaiseki” or Japanese cuisine. On July they have a festival here along Kagurazaka road so if you are visiting Japan on July I believe that it is the best time to go here.

Try getting your omikuji here if you would like. ;)

Try getting your omikuji here if you would like. 😉


Its a very long street! Try walking it from Iidabashi and you will not get bored!

Its a very long street! Try walking it from Iidabashi and you will not get bored!

How to get there: If you would go down at Iidabashi you will soon find Kagurazaka street, you will see a Starbucks at the end of the street and going up hill will be Kagurazaka. Another way would be to use the tozai and toei oedo lines which gets down at Kagurazaka.

What to try: There is this famous Japanese “nikuman” shop called 五十番. I would recommend that you try their original Nikuman. Also after I visit the french restaurant that my friend is recommending here in Kagurazaka I will include it again in my blog. (wink. wink)

The red shop is the nikuman shop!

The red shop is the nikuman shop!


You must try their Nikuman!

You must try their Nikuman!

三社祭 (Sanja Matsuri), Asakusa

There are many festivals around Tokyo every May, and I could`t decide which one to go to but my obaachan (grandmother) was talking about how fun this festival was so I decided to go here with a meet up group. Sanja Matsuri literally “Three Shrine Festival”, it is held every third weekend of May in Asakusa. The festival is held in honor of Hinokuma Hamanari, Hinokuma Takenari and Hajino Nakatomo, the three men who established and founded the Senso-ji temple.

We got here at 9:30 am for the start of the festival was 10am and we went around asking where we could see the Yakuza. It is rare to see the Yakuza to show all of their tattoos to the public and we even got a notice before going here that we might not see their tattoos due to the strict rules. As we turned the corner we saw this group of people almost naked and covered in tattoos. I was so surprised, when we asked for a picture they even requested that we take their back side as i am assuming it is something they are very proud of.

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Many Yakuzas and other people

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I got a picture with them too!

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He told me that I have to take his back side also.

The rest of the festival we spent going around the Senso-ji temple and eating all of the different Japanese food and delicacies. I wanted to try everything since they all looked so good, but I didn`t want to risk gaining another 2 pounds so I decided to just eat the butter potato and the ice tempura. My gosh, all the food here sounded so interesting, I would recommend that you share it with a friend if it is too much. Your experience will not be complete if you do not have a taste of the food they are selling in the stalls!

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Green tea and azuki shaved ice was so good.

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Potato butter!

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Tempura Ice

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Yen and his yakisoba!

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Eating her GIANT OKONOMIYAKI

Japanese festivals are always something that I look forward in going to and I learned so much from my Japanese friends about the Mikoshi they were carrying around and about the festival too. There is so much to learn about the Japanese culture and the best way to experience it is through festivals. My obaachan told me that this is probably one of the best festivals in Tokyo. If you decide to come here on May you should leave your third weekend free to come here. The matsuri starts on Friday-Sunday, and each day has different events. I wanted to come on the second day because it is only on the second day when you can see the Yakuza and the many kids carrying the Mikoshi. The third day they say is also a good day too.

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The pretty cat in front of Asakusa Sensoji temple, my grandma says he is always there!

Higaeri from Tokyo: Ashikaga Flower Park

Although it was a tiring day trip to Ashikaga, I will not regret my grandmas sudden decision to go with me today instead of tomorrow.  It was my first time to see a Wisteria tree. and this tree is now 145 years old.  Its known to be one of the biggest in the world and its become quite an attraction to many tourists. You won’t need much time going around the park but I advice that you go here with your friends. As you will enjoy the many different flower attractions.

The flower park entrance

The flower park entrance

The ticket will cost you ¥1600 to enter the park itself.

The ticket will cost you ¥1600 to enter the park itself.

How to get there: I read about many routes to get to Ashikaga but I decided that we take the most convenient way. From Asakusa, there is a Limited express train that you can take from Tobu Asakusa station to Ashikaga train station, which will only take you 70 mins for 2000 yen. I opted to take this route because you would not have to change trains and my grandma is too old for any inconvenience. From Ashikaga station there is a shuttle bus that will cost you ¥400

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The biggest one!

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Yellow wisterias

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White wisterias

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Some wisteria ice cream

I believe that the week after Golden week is the best time to come here to the flower park when the Wisteria tree is blooming nicely. At night you could enjoy the tree being lit up. There are a number of flowers you can enjoy and you could also try their wisteria ice cream, which I don`t really recommend but its worth a try if you`d like. You`ll be walking into tunnels of many different colors of wisteria. I would advice you to take your time and enjoy every site, most especially the largest scene where 2 wisteria trees are put into one place. It will cost you ¥1600 to enter the park, there are also a number of tour buses that you can join into which might cost you about the same amount that we spent. If however what you are looking for is to enjoy your time without any time constraint, this would be a great higaeri adventure with your friends.

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The purple ones don’t smell as good as the white ones, but they are prettier.

Guru Churro, Harajuku

Rie told me about how good these churros were and I couldn’t wait to give them a try the next time I was in Harajuku. Fortunately, I was going to meet my long time friend Timmy that day and we decided to try it out together. Its hidden but you won’t miss it as long as you read the signs, Its right across forever 21.

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Here are the list of their flavors

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Timmy is enjoying her churro… well technically I ate most of all the churros.

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We had the set with the ice cream to share too!

We got to try cinnamon, strawberry, matcha, honey, sugar and the set with the Ice cream. It was just heavenly! I have to thank my friend Rie for this suggestion! I will not regret coming here for some churros, so if you ever are in Harajuku you should come and try this place for a short snack after lunch. The place is also very secluded and nice so you can have some quiet time from the crazy hustle outside in Harajuku.

I will recommend that you try the cinnamon flavored churros and honey, those were my favorites. If you are a bit more adventurous I would recommend the Kinako, I heard the table next to us saying that it was good. Timmy and I were supposed to share but It really felt like I was the one eating all of the churros while she shared her stories.

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Its located right under charles and keith, so you just have to go down the escalator to the basement! If you get lost just look for Charles and Keith and don’t forget that its across H&M and Forever 21.