Monday, September 26, 2016

When in Japan: Visit Owl Family Hakata

My recent Japan trip was a dream come true. I have been dying to visit Japan for the longest time and it finally happened this year. And nothing would have been more perfect than being there during the time when cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Obviously, I went crazy over the cherry blossoms and dragged R towards every sakura tree I spotted. It was expected as I have always wanted to see those beautiful trees in real life. But I would have never known that I would also go crazy over… owls

Hello, Owl Family Hakata!
The Owl café was an accidental discovery and it happened when R and I were trying to find our way to visit this temple near Hakata Station in Fukuoka, Japan

After struggling to ask the locals for directions with my survival Nihonggo, we found ourselves walking along this sad looking shopping district. That was when we spotted a bunch of foreigners in front of this quaint café. Curious, we stopped and check the place out. And to our surprise, we saw several owls inside!
Owls of different sizes were all lounging around the small establishment. We were so fascinated by it that we thought of joining the group of tourists outside. But there is a limit with the number of customers who could go inside. Also, we wanted to wait for R’s friend to join us. 
We headed back to the place after a couple of hours and there were still a handful of people waiting outside for the next batch. We got scared that we might not be accommodated as the ones ahead of us made reservations. But we managed to get in. Yay!
We were first ushered to the second floor of the cafe where we were given instructions on how to handle the owls. It was a bit of a challenge as the server was speaking 95% Japanese and 5% English. We only understood the essentials through body language. 
Thankfully, they also have some reading materials in English for us which also explain the same things the staff was trying to convey. 
Before heading down, we placed our orders which were inclusive in our JPY1,000 per person café fee. R and I got hot chocolate while R’s friend, M, got coffee. 
Giddy to mingle with the owls, we didn’t drink our beverages right away. Also, the second floor was a bit too cramped to stay put.
We were given a quick rundown of the names of the owls but the one that got stuck to me is Sumomo, the adorable small owl with eyes that could melt the coldest heart. 
Look at that!!!
At first, I was scared that the owl will peck me or its claws will dig in my skin. But the charming creature didn’t hurt me at all. I had it perch on my hand then my shoulder and eventually my head. 
We all took turns to play with the other owls and it sure was a struggle to lift the biggest owl. 
It was so majestic that it sort of intimidated me. 
Harry Potter’s white owl was also present in the café but we were not allowed to mingle with it as it is pretty old. We could have our photos taken with it though. 
After half an hour of bliss, we had to head back upstairs and pay our bill. We could also buy some owl merchandise before heading out. But we opted not to as the stuff for sale were pretty expensive. 
I hope that we could have something unique like this in Manila! But for now, I’ll plan my next trip to Japan soon. 
Owl Family Hakata is located at 4-211 Kamikawabatamachi, Hakata-Ku, Fukuoka 812-0026 Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan.

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