Tokyo - Day 11 Ikebukuro, Harajuku. Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Ikebero is like a small version of Shinjuku. There’s not a whole lot there that you can’t get in Shinjuku. However, I did see an Audi RS6 Avant (ie station wagon). If you’re a wagon guy like me, this is pretty much the holy grail; they’re not available in North America. 600hp. :)

Had ramen for lunch and grabbed coffee at Gorilla Coffee. Supposedly, really strong coffee that people seek out, originally from Brooklyn, NY. Sure, it was good. But, as a Vancouverite with coffee snob status, 49th Parallel is equally good, but this was $8. They had a really good banana cheesecake though. Plus, tons of seating, which you never can find in crowded Shinjuku.


Gorilla Cafe was ok. The biggest selling point was the huge seating area. The coffee was good, but I wouldn’t say it was exceptional.

Coffee in Tokyo is pricey. I think most of them are pour-overs, but $7-8 coffees (in small cups) with no refills kind of sucks.


Tried to visit a fire safety centre that has an earthquake simulator. Unfortunately, it was closed for the day. So, we walked around and played some more crane games. Round1 is here. It’s one of the kids’ favourite places in Seattle. I didn’t realize it was an international chain. Same as Seattle. Makes sense that it’s Japanese. Crane games, video games, photobooths, darts, pool tables, bowling, karaoke. But, this one is vertical, stacked over 6 floors, three of which are bowling.

Kali really wanted to visit an owl cafe, so we went back to Harajuku. The owl cafe we tried was full. They have “seating times”. It didn’t look that impressive to me anyway. Looked like you sit in one room drinking coffee. Then you get to go into a glass siding door room with a owl and handler. And, it looked small. We couldn’t get in anyway. Bumped into the LA/Tokyo dad that we met at Baird Brewing a few days ago. He was heading back there to meet a buddy.

Instead of the owl cafe, we went to an “owl forest walk” instead. It’s an aviary full of owls sitting on branches that you can pet. It was fun when it started, but I soon felt like this is some sort of animal cruelty. The owls are strapped to the branches, and people go through all day. Maybe they love it too, but I’d rather know for sure.


Owl cafes are like cat cafes where people sit around having a coffee with owls wandering around. But since all the owl cafes in the area were fully booked we went to an "owl walk”. Originally I thought the owl walk would have the owls in more of their own natural habitat, and that they would be better cared for (like a wildlife park). At first I thought the owls were amazingly tame. When Kirk pointed out that they were chained to the tree branch, I felt kind of ill.

I guess it’s like most zoos and aquariums where the animals are there for visitors entertainment. The kids really liked seeing the owls up close and being able to pet them, but if I knew what I know now, I probably would have held out for an owl cafe.


Had dinner at the Kawaii Monster Cafe. No show, unlike the Robot Restaurant. Just a decorated restaurant with techno music.


The Kawaii Monster Cafe was more Harajuku Girls than kawaii! The techno was really loud - which was fine for all of us, except Kali. Poor kid was covering ears for most of the night.

The non-alcoholic drinks were yummy. One was called “The Experiment” where you had to pour two different liquids into another. Although there was no cool reaction, it was fun for the kids. Kirk’s beer came in a beaker.

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