Nekorobi Cat Cafe in Ikebukuro

Coffee or cats? For some people, deciding which of the two they love more is tough. For people like these, Tokyo’s cat cafes are the purr-fect hangout spot.

But wait, what is a cat café? Don’t panic. It’s not a café that serves cats. Cat cafes are coffee shops around Japan where visitors can get their caffeine fix while playing with cats!

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What you can expect in a cat cafe

Cat cafes are prevalent in Japan, so there are really plenty of these to choose from. But since we were staying at Ikebukuro, I visited the one closest to it, which happened to be a cat café called Nekorobi – the very first cat café I have ever visited. I had not made any reservations prior to coming, although I did arrive late at night so it wasn’t too crowded. The kind staff welcomed me, but before stepping inside the café, I was asked to take my shoes off and wash my hands and put alcohol on them for sanitary purposes.

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“Coffee, tea, or me?” the cat asks.

I stepped inside the cat café and was amazed. It was LITERALLY a cat café! Humans were enjoying a cup of joe while petting the furballs! Those who weren’t playing with the cats were doing something else, like playing games or working on their laptops, just as they would if they were in Starbucks; only, this time, they were surrounded by cats.

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Humans petting away

Even those who are not fans of cats and just want to chill in a different kind of coffee shop would probably enjoy spending time at Nekorobi. The ambiance is quite relaxing and conducive to working, reading, or just unwinding. The place is also very clean and well-maintained. That song by Phoebe Buffay from the show ‘Friends’ that goes “Smelly cat / smelly cat/ what are they feeding you?” That’s not applicable here because there is no funny feline funk here!

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Such a cozy cat cafe!
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It’s so clean, I could sleep on the floor!

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Play time!

At Nekorobi, you can call the cats by saying “Here, kitty, kitty…” OR you can call them by their first name. The café has a little booklet that shows the basic “profile” of each of the cats, which includes their name, birthday, breed, gender, and profile photos (yes, just like Facebook!). It also has a short description of each of the cats so you can get to know your fluffy friends better.

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Check out the profile of Haruki. “He is one of [the] most handsome Nekorobi.” I bet this guy gets a lot of pussy action from the other kitties! Haha!

I’d like you to meet some of the feline friends I’ve made at Nekorobi!

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In a meditative state

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Aww, this little baby!
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Haruki may be one of the most handsome cats in Nekorobi, but this one is pretty hunky too (in cat standards, I mean)
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I mean, look at that smoulder! Haha!
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This one just went all the way up to the top of the vending machine!
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Don’t be shy, kitty!
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This cat condo is pretty cool. The cats can climb all the way up the top deck.
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This cat just effortlessly swung himself up that deck, like Tarzan swinging up and down vines!

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The panda cat (coz he’s black and white)
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Look at that huge butt!
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Me being a “crazy cat lady” after many attempts at taking a photo with this cat. He was quite the squirmy one!

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This kitty box with the kitty hole is too adorable!
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Sleeping time coz that’s what cats do!
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This cat, though, is working overtime
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Cat: “I need a vacation!”

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Um, they’re all looking at me menacingly, like they’re planning to attack me and claw me on the face!
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Sweet little kitty
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Aww! This cute little cat is making my heart melt. It looks like he/she is still a baby.
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This poor fellow is sick. 🙁

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Ball of fluff!
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So fat! “Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you?” (Except that this cat is not smelly at all!)
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Cat conversations
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My god, all the cats in Nekorobi are so huge and heavy! I had to use all of my weight to carry them!
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You see my struggle?
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Before…
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…and after. Hahaha!

The entrance fee at Nekorobi is inclusive of free drinks from their vending machine. The machine has an extensive collection of drinks that visitors can sip on while getting cozy with the cats. Not only do they offer coffee but also juices and sodas.

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Cat paraphernalia

I find it so adorable that Nekorobi has toys for the cats! Most of the toys are even shaped like cats. Isn’t that the cutest?

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Nekorobi looks like a baby’s room because of all these sweet stuffed toys.
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In case you need to sanitize, you can grab some of these CUTE tissues. Everything about this place is cute, even their tissue paper!

The concept of this cat cafe is really a cool one. Aside from sipping lattes and frisking about with the cats, there are plenty of other activities that guests can enjoy at Nekorobi. Here, guests have access to books and magazines, various games (playing cards, Uno, Jenga, etc.), a TV, DVDs, Wii, and PCs with internet. It’s really just like being at home, and the kind staff at Nekorobi really know how to make guests feel at home. Whenever I approached them to ask questions, they would patiently answer me. They volunteered to take my photo with the cats. Nekorobi feels like a happy home — a happy home with 11 cats lazing or loitering around!

However, while the staff are all sweet and friendly, sadly, most of the cats in Nekorobi aren’t as amiable. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not evil cats. They are all very well-behaved. They won’t just scratch you or hiss at you (or maybe they didn’t do that to me because they were in an okay mood at the time of my visit?) but don’t expect them to come nuzzling up against you while purring dotingly at you. Some of them will try to get away from you if they sense you approaching, while some will let you touch them but will just lie there in a frigid manner. My surmise is that because they are so spoiled and so used to people fawning over them, they’ve become so indifferent, whereas an abandoned cat that probably gets less love would probably be more excited about receiving attention and affection. There are still a few cats in Nekorobi that are engaging though. And regardless of how the cats respond, a visit to Nekorobi or any cat café is a must-try adventure when in Tokyo!

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Wandering around the streets of Ikebukuro

Nekorobi was a little hard to find for a Tokyo first-timer like myself. And since not all Japanese people can understand English, they didn’t know what I was talking about when I was going, “Where is the cat café? Cat café, you know… meow!!! (yes, with matching pawing and meowing sounds. Hahaha!)” But when I said “neko,” they immediately understood (“neko” means “cat” in Japanese. As in like the maneki-neko, which literally means “beckoning cat”). Nekorobi is located at the third floor of a building so it’s not that easy to spot, but it’s only a 4-minute walk from Sunshine City. From Sunshine City, walk northwest, take the crosswalk, until you see the Tact T.O. Building, which has a restaurant at the first floor (Nakau) and another at the second floor (Saffron Ikebukuro Indian Resto Bar). You can also view the building in Google Maps.

Curios about this cat café? Visit Nekorobi’s official website to see why this cat café is one of the best ones in Tokyo. Nekorobi Cat Café is really the cat’s meow!

Nekorobi Cat Café
Address: 3/F Tact T.O. Building, Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toyoshima-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-6228-0646
E-mail: info@nekorobi.jp
Website: http://www.nekorobi.jp/english/
Entrance Fees for the first 1 hour: 1,100 (weekdays) / 1,300 (for weekends and holidays)
250 (weekdays) / 300 (weekends) for an extension of every 15 minutes
Weekday special course: 2,400 for 3 hours
Opening Hours: 11AM – 10PM on weekdays, weekends, and holidays except the year-end and New Year holidays

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Comments

  1. Melissa says:

    I’m not a fan of cats but the place looks really cute. I heard cat cafes are really popular there in Japan, so nice you got to visit one. 🙂

    1. There are literally so many cat cafes in Japan! But I heard that Nekorobi is one of the best ones. 🙂

  2. Lester says:

    I’ve seen this kind of concept before. This would be awesome for cat lovers. Thanks for sharing this!

    Lester | http://www.lesteronearth.blogspot.com

    1. I think we have something like this in Manila now, if I’m not mistaken.

  3. Meaow! Very cozy place. I’m not a fan of coffee and cats. But the place looks interesting. I would love to give it a try since it looks clean and fresh 🙂

    1. Nadine Smith says:

      Yeah, there’s no funny cat stench in here! 🙂 Haha!

  4. Chel says:

    Aww! I love cats! And I think the first thing that I will do should I visit Japan is head to this cafe.

    1. Nadine Smith says:

      It’s really a cute concept 🙂

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