Japan popularized the animal cafe so I was hoping we’d get to visit one while we were there. Unfortunately, at many, the animals aren’t treated well so I wasn’t sure if I’d find one that I could feel OK about visiting. And then I found an otter cafe in Kyoto! We love otters, especially Beckett and I. I did some research on the cafe and it seemed like a good place – the animals are the owners pets, they rotate them so they have limited time with people, and they seemed healthy and treated well.
I didn’t tell the kids about this place at all as I wanted it to be a surprise. I also knew if I told Beckett that he’d drag us there as soon as we arrived in Kyoto.
After our ninja class and snack, the kids wanted to go back to the rental, but this is when I planned to visit. The kids realized something was up and spent the entire walk there trying to guess what we were doing and badgering me to tell them.
Beckett saw the sign first and then got so excited that he was going to get to play with otters! Unfortunately they were booked up, but we were able to get a spot a little later.
When you arrive, you first wash your hands, then are allowed to enter. You put your belongings in a locker and then have a seat. They have 2 otters out at a time and they just run around, eat, play, and rest while we observe. You’re not allowed to pick them up, but at points, they’d give us food and let us feed them.
They also have a giant water tank where 1 or 2 otters would be swimming and playing, plus a huge room with a glass wall where there were other otters and no people, so you could watch them play, snack, and sleep too.
The experience was amazing. They’re so fun and playful! And they eat so cute – they grab the food off your hand like their paws are hands then feed themselves.
We only had about 45 minutes as we had to get to the GEAR show. But we came back the next day and spent the full hour with them.
The kids both put the experience in the top 3 of things we did on our trip so I’d say it was a definite win!