If you happen to find yourself in the trendy Jiyugaoka suburb of Japan then it’s quite possible that you may come across one the countries trendy rabbit cafés (aka usagi cafés)– comforting spots where you can have a latte and a cuddle of the fluffy kind.
Maria Fuwa, believes passionately in her rabbit café. Fuwa opened one of the very first lepus themed establishments in Japan, and is utterly devoted to her furry coworkers, fervent in her belief that rabbits can comfort humans without words.
The all-important question is though, what about the welfare of the rabbits? Fuwa is anxious to emphasise that pet welfare is a central concern for the staff. In fact, she believes that rabbit cafés provide the prefect opportunity for prospective owners to learn how to really care for their animals.
The reasons behind the birth and popularity of rabbit cafés are not dissimilar to the reasons behind the appeal and success of cat cafés. Her business is just one of the thousands of commercial enterprises designed to aleviate the harsh realities of urban life in Japan.Devotees of Japanese animal cafés enjoy the novelty factor, as well as a rare chance time to unwind with the help of a friendly animal in the heart of the city. With tiny apartments and heavy workloads, the majority of Japan’s urbanites find keeping a pet of their own an impossibility. Visiting their favourite pet café gives them a rare opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of having an animal of their very own, with none of the responsibilities.
By Paula Pennant.