I never thought I’d have the chance to hold an otter out of water, but after almost 4 years of living in Tokyo, I should know that nearly anything is possible! With my recent visit to the Otter Room Cafe in Ikebukero, I learned they are not only adaptable and highly intelligent creatures, but also quite cuddly ones too. This animal cafe was newly added as an expansion of the Usamimi Cafe that features rabbits, and visitors can choose a timeslot between 30 minutes to an hour to play with either species by submitting a form via email through the official website (JP/EN).
Upon arriving, my friend and I paid 1000 yen for 30 minutes, and were promptly handed an apron, hand sanitizer, and printed English instructions so we could brace ourselves for the otter outbreak. We were then led to a room where three adorable otters were sleeping in a cage. When the cage door opened, one of them was placed on our laps! The otter was so adorable we didn’t even know how to react.
Wanting to see his friends, the otter would crawl on and off the seats and back to us. Though otters are not intended to be kept as pets, these otters were kept in a very clean area and seemed to be healthy and happy. It was difficult to take photos of them as they are a bit finicky, but I managed to capture a few.
The three otters we saw were named Gucchan, Taeko, and Wakabarasu. Though there were a bit sleepy when we saw them in the afternoon, they seemed happy to be together. Compared to the meerkats I saw in Korea that were quite scrappy, these bunch were very friendly and pleasant to be around. Please come if you are interested in meeting otters!