Tokyo, the capital of Japan, has been undergoing redevelopment in recent years, with modern buildings continuously increasing. On the other hand, Yanaka Ginza in Taito Ward is an area that values its quaint, old-fashioned townscape. The traditional shopping street culture and scenery remain, making it a popular destination for tourists from abroad.

Yanaka is also referred to as the "town of cats." During the Edo period when Yanaka was a temple town, many households kept cats to catch mice, gradually increasing their numbers. Additionally, the abundance of narrow alleys inaccessible to cars seems to be another reason why cats can live comfortably there.

While there were many stray cats in the past, it is said that currently, volunteers are neutering them and feeding them, with the whole town caring for them together. The shopping street has many cat-themed goods, and "cat cafes" where you can interact with real cats are also popular. This time, I will provide a detailed introduction to a popular "cat cafe" in Yanaka.

What is a Cat Cafe?

cat cafe

A cat cafe is a cafe where you can interact with cats while enjoying drinks. Cat cafes originally started in Taiwan when an owner who wanted a unique cafe brought in their own pet cat. This concept then spread to Japan, and now there are many such cafes across the country.

While cat cafes exist in major cities overseas like New York and London, Japan's gentle and adorable cats are hugely popular among foreign tourists. Many people list cat cafes as one of their reasons for visiting Japan.

In recent years, some cat cafes have also served as places to find new owners for rescued cats or strays, attracting attention as spaces where these "hogo-neko" (rescued cats) can interact with humans without stress.

What kind of place is Neco Republic?

Daily Rescued Cat Adoption Event Theme

"Neco Republic Tokyo Yanaka Shinimono Gurui Ten" located in Yanaka, Tokyo, is a "rescued cat cafe" with the theme of a "daily rescued cat adoption event." A "jouto-kai" (adoption event) is a gathering to find new owners for rescued cats.

At Neco Republic, various adorable rescued cats with distinct personalities are waiting for new families. To become the owner of a rescued cat, you need to go through steps like filling out a questionnaire, having an interview with a staff member, submitting documents, and a 2-week trial period. A thorough system is in place to ensure the cats find caring owners.

With the motto "Just visiting helps the cats," the cafe welcomes those who simply want to interact with the cute cats even if they can't adopt one. Be sure to stop by during your sightseeing trip!

Spacious Area to Relax with Cats

Neco Republic -room1
Source: Official website

In the spacious area, you can relax with the cats. You can watch the cats playing on the cat walks attached to the walls, play with toys together, or simply gaze at them napping comfortably and feel refreshed.

On the official website, you can check the photos, genders, ages, and detailed profiles of the cats living in the cafe, including their personalities described as "mischievous," "shy," or "tsundere." Checking them out before visiting could be fun.

How to Use Neco Republic

Entry Procedure

First-time visitors need to go through an entry procedure. Neco Republic views the cafe as a single republic, referring to these procedures as "immigration procedures."

Once you complete the procedures, you'll be issued a "passport," making subsequent visits smoother. With each visit, your status increases, and corresponding benefits are granted. Even if you're only visiting once for sightseeing, the same procedure is required.

To enter, you need to review documentation outlining the cafe's rules and regulations, and fill out certain sections. You can download these from the official website, so filling them out in advance would be more efficient.

Fees

The fees are charged by the hour, varying based on the duration and day of the week. You can choose from 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours, with each additional 30-minute extension after that costing 500 yen. On weekends and holidays, only the 30-minute and 1-hour courses are available, not the 2-hour course. Additionally, you can pay an extra fee to use a private room, recommended for those wanting a more relaxed space to interact with the cats.

<Basic Fees (All Prices Exclude Tax)>
Weekdays: 1100 yen (30 minutes) / 1500 yen (1 hour) / 2400 yen (2 hours) +500 yen for each additional 30 minutes
Weekends/Holidays: 1300 yen (30 minutes) / 1700 yen (1 hour) +500 yen for each additional 30 minutes
Private Room Fee: Weekdays Base Fee +3000 yen / Weekends/Holidays Base Fee +5000 yen

Is a Reservation Necessary?

It's recommended to make a reservation in advance when visiting Neco Republic. Those with reservations get priority entry, so during busy times, non-reservations may face long waits or be unable to enter. This is especially important on weekends and long holidays. Making a reservation when planning your sightseeing schedule provides peace of mind.

Reservations can be made through the form on the official website, where you can select your preferred date and time slot. Since the form only allows hourly selections, those wanting the 30-minute course should first reserve the 1-hour course and inform the staff upon arrival.

Points to Note

Wearing Socks is Mandatory!

At "Neco Republic Tokyo Yanaka Shinimono Gurui Ten," wearing socks is mandatory to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases between humans and cats. As diseases can spread easily through the soles of the feet, you must first sanitize your hands upon entry, put on socks, and then disinfect the soles of your feet. Sheer socks or thin stockings are not allowed.

Those without socks can purchase them at the cafe. There are also shops around Yanaka Ginza selling cute socks, so you could look for a souvenir pair before entry.

No Child Rates

Neco Republic does not offer child rates. Children able to walk independently need to pay the same entrance fee as adults, so be aware of this. However, there may be parent-child discounts or child discounts during certain events or campaigns, so it's recommended to check the official website before your visit.

Additionally, children of middle school age or younger cannot enter alone and must be accompanied by an adult. If foreign tourists are unsure about the age criteria, they should directly inquire with the cafe staff.

Access to Neco Republic

"Neco Republic Tokyo Yanaka Shinimono Gurui Ten" is located in the middle of the Yanaka Ginza shopping street. The shopping street is about a 5-minute walk from either JR Yamanote/Joban Line's Nippori Station or Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line's Sendagi Station.

The cafe is on the 3rd floor of a building, with its entrance being a bit hard to spot as there's a door at the bottom of the stairs. However, a sign reading "Play with cats, help cats" along with an illustration of a cute cat serves as a landmark.

・Address: 3-9-15 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo 3F
・Access: 5-minute walk from JR Yamanote/Joban Line Nippori Station or Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line Sendagi Station Exit 2

Neco Republic Basic Information

Open: 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Phone: 070-9090-2993
Closed: Wednesdays (Open if Wednesday is a national holiday)
Official Website: https://www.neco-republic.jp/shop/yanaka/
Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/necorepublic.yanaka/