Wear the raincoat. No, not your own, use the one from the shop. You’ll thank me later.
The Tori no Iru Bird Cafe is a nice side-excursion from your trip to the Sensoji Asakusa Shrine. You won’t miss it–they have a large outdoor display and video monitor, and the arrow pointing to the basement cafe is easy to find.
Once inside, the door-bird–some kind of burrowing owl–squawked at us, making for a unique sort of visitor bell. We turned over our jackets and bags to the staff, sanitized our hands and shoes for the safety of the birds, and went to go visit our avian friends!
The owls are the first birds you’ll see once you turn around from the counter. Most are of the small burrowing type, but there are a few medium-sized birds and one larger barn owl. Their area is a little darker, for their comfort. They seem amenable to being petted, so long as you don’t surprise them while they are looking at something else. If you ask, the staff will pick them up and put them on your hand for photos.
After that, it was time for the main event. the raincoats are right next to the door, and you do want to put one on. There be parrots beyond this point! After going through a short corridor, you will emerge into what amounts to a giant birdcage.
The birds at this bird cafe are not shy. As soon as we were inside, three parakeets landed on me, and a handful more on my trusty camera-woman. And keep your hood up–birds like long hair, earrings, necklaces, and any other bright and shinys that they can reach with their little beaks. Also, please be careful where you step–some of the parakeets like to walk on the floor, especially if they think you may have dropped something or mistake your shoelaces for worms.
And then I went and did it. On the far side of the entrance is a small table, upon which is a box. Inside this box, you can buy birdseed treats at 100 yen for a small plastic container. I moved towards the table–
And was immediately mobbed. Every bird in the room swooped down on me, Hitchcock-style. It took a few moments for me to have enough mobility to even open the box, put in the coin, and pull out a birdseed container. At that point, the birds turned into little flying piranhas, with two or three trying to pry open the container with their beaks while the rest jostled for position on my arms and head.
The parakeets and parrots were the most active, but they weren’t the only residents of the room. Huddled in the corner were a pair of ducks trying to sleep. A trumpeter horn bill blasted by, obviously on pressing business on the other side of the room. And in one corner a small, shy toucan delicately nipped the birdseed we offered.
Once we left the Parakeet Room, we were able to browse the wide variety of souvenirs available at the front desk of the bird cafe. I bought a little packet of owl buttons for my bag (500 yen).
Although the Parakeet Room was a lot of fun for us, we could see how it could be terrifying for children to suddenly have a number of birds land on them. Although the Tori no Iru Bird Cafe allows children of all ages, please be aware that the experience could be frightening for small children and possibly dangerous for the birds. Please look out for our new feathered friends at Tori no Iru!
Tori no Iru Bird Cafe Asakusa
Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Asakusa Station, Exit A4 or A5 (plan your route at the link and click on the Google Map below for walking directions)