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Inside a Japanese owl cafe

Pay a modest entry fee and you can make new feathered friends, take owl selfies, and even pet them. Warning: Extreme cuteness alert.

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Geoffrey Morrison
Geoffrey Morrison is a writer/photographer about tech and travel for CNET, The New York Times, and other web and print publications. He's also the Editor-at-Large for The Wirecutter. He has written for Sound&Vision magazine, Home Theater magazine, and was the Editor-in-Chief of Home Entertainment magazine. He is NIST and ISF trained, and has a degree in Television/Radio from Ithaca College. His bestselling novel, Undersea, and its sequel, Undersea Atrophia, are available in paperback and digitally on Amazon. He spends most of the year as a digital nomad, living and working while traveling around the world. You can follow his travels at BaldNomad.com and on his YouTube channel.
Geoffrey Morrison
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Hi and bye!

Hello! I am an owl!

For more fun pictures, continue on!

For the full story behind the owl close encounter, check out Who wouldn't want to visit a Japanese owl cafe? Who?

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Owl cafe, upstairs

Like so many cool places in Japan, you could pass by the entrance and not even know it was there.

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Perched

Most of the owls chilled on their perches. Some hopped or flew around a little.

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Back of the hand

You're only supposed to pet them, gently, with the back of your hand. They're exceptionally soft.

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No touching!

Some, like these guys, aren't fans of hands and are best left untouched.

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Hopper

This one kept hopping around between the sections, so I wasn't sure if he was pro-touch or anti-touch. Everyone else petted him, so he was probably fine.

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Pumpkin

This owl seemed unimpressed that it was nearly Halloween.

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Gently

The ones who were OK to pet seemed totally unfazed by it.

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Grumpy

Some of them just looked grumpy, but it seems that was just ORGF: Owl Resting Grumpy Face.

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Turf

The big one (a Great Gray) moved around a lot, sometimes hanging out on a nearby bench, or hopping up here and annoying the little one.

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Making new friends

Here's me and my new friend. I named him Okii.

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Perpetually spooked

A friend named this one Gus (not sure of his species). He seemed worried. Though all the owls I saw had tethers on their legs (as you can see here), most of the tethers weren't actually clipped to anything.

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Sleepy

Not all owls are nocturnal. This one sure was. A Barn owl I believe.

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Double vision

Statler and Waldorf here (my names) were in the no-petting zone. Great Horned owls, I believe.

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Blink

The slow one-eyed wink is eerie.

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This guy!

Impossibly cute. I really wanted to take this one home. Look at those eyes!

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Eyes indeed

As big as her eyes were, she didn't really seem to pay much attention to us. I believe she's a Barred owl. The blue LEDs strung all over really made photos a challenge.

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Not fake

I posted this to my Instagram and people said it was fake. He didn't move much, but was definitely real.

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Up, in the sky!

Look at that!

OK, no, I'm positive that's not a bird nor a plane.

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Not amused

I am not amused by your toys, human.

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Horns

They aren't horns. They're not even ears -- just feathers.

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Great Gray

The eyes on the Great Gray were easily the most human. Eerie.

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What are you lookin' at?

I feel like she's judging me.

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Staredown

They stare into your soul one moment...

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!!!

...and are shocked by something else the next.

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Floof

Gus again. Because.

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So tiny

The fact that you could fit him in your pocket, and that he was a little disheveled, just put this one over the top.

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Bad day

This one, on the other hand (a Pygmy owl I think), didn't seem amused about anything.

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Eye contact

This owl wants me to question my life choices.

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Not just birds

Owl Forest also had some non-owls, like this deadly baby dragon. Quite fierce.

For the full story behind the owl close encounter, check out Who wouldn't want to visit a Japanese owl cafe? Who?

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