This avian-themed restaurant is a place where patrons flock.
By now you may be familiar with the growing trend of the cat café. Never a place to be behind on the times, Japan has moved on from felines to bring us yet another fantastically themed dining establishment that celebrates our winged friends, the birds. Contrary to any Hitchcock-inspired visuals, you can rest assured that Tokyo’s Kotori Café focuses on the happy side of birds—and the only swooping you will be subject to is by friendly staff wanting to make sure that you have an enjoyable experience.
Naturally, when thinking of a bird-themed restaurant, you may imagine a “white linen”-type place known for its duck cordon bleu (or, for the rest of us, some fries and greasy chicken). However, at Kotori Café, nobody is going to be asking to try the duck. In fact, that may get you a dirty look or two. Kotori Café is a homage to our feathered friends that allows you to interact with these delicate creatures in a fun way—a particular treat for those of us whose most frequent bird contact is with the questionable-looking pigeon on our windowsill. Colourful parrots, cockatiels and budgies can be found at Kotori Café, and in a world where we are quick to lose ourselves in the swiping of a screen, it is refreshing to sit and watch. Gazing at these creatures not only adds to the calm environment of the café, but allows patrons the opportunity to be present in the moment.
Speaking of the atmosphere, Kotori Café is a pleasantly bright spot that gives the feel of sitting in a friend’s dining area. If you prefer to enjoy the birds from afar, have no fear. The birds are kept separate from visitors in a glassed-off space to allow for viewing without fear of swooping! Even better, while you sip on your coffee, you will be serenaded by the tweets and whistles of the feathered occupants—what a relaxing way to spend an afternoon! If you want to visit directly with the birds, holding and petting them, you can pay an extra ¥540 (about $6) for a five-minute session.
Like all Japanese theme restaurants, Kotori Café takes the bird theme to the next level. While indulging in a café au lait or one of the many teas, visitors can try an assortment of tasty sweets or super-cute sandwiches that all resemble (of course!) birds. Cakes, ice cream treats and even the French toast take on the theme of tiny birds that are so cute you may think twice about eating them. Don’t let that deter you from trying them out—your tastebuds will thank you! And, with reasonable prices, consider wearing your stretchy pants so that you can try out a few of the yummy-looking desserts. You can expect to spend between $6 and $10 for a drink, or combine a drink and food item for around $16. Many of the menu options come extravagantly plated in ornate birdcages of their own—this is a celebration of the bird down to the very last detail!
Once you’ve had enough time to savour your bird-inspired treats, do some bird-themed shopping for a souvenir to remember your visit. Kotori Café offers up a variety of bird-related items, from postcards to purses, pillows to pens.
Depending on where you are staying while in Tokyo, there are two Kotori Cafés to choose from, located in Kichijoji and Omotesando. So, leave the binoculars at home and make the trip out to Kotori Café!
For the birds
Some facts to accompany your visit.
- There are over 1,000 types of birds around the world.
- Owls, snakes, dogs, cats, rabbits and goats all have Japanese cafés of their own!
- Winter is a popular time to bird-watch in Japan with many migrating birds passing through.
- The pheasant is the national bird of Japan.
- In Japanese lore, a three-legged crow named Yata-garasu led descendants of the Sun God- dess to Japan. Birds hold a special place in this country!
Kotori Café has two locations in Tokyo. The Omotesando location is a short walk from Omotesando Station. The Kichijoji location is a 15-minute walk from JR Kichijoji Station or Mitaka Station.
6-3-7 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo OPEN HOURS Daily 11 am–7 pm
1F Bueno Mitaka no Mori, 1-14-7 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka-City, Tokyo
OPEN HOURS Daily 10:30 am–6 pm