Rikugien Garden was the perfect way to start our day after spending a crazy night with robots and Godzilla. We slept in, ate brunch in our apartment (cereal & yogurt FTW), and then started our day.
As we walked through the various pathways alongside the pond, there was a peacefulness and beauty that I hadn’t seen anywhere else in Tokyo. Giant carp swam in the waters, a few tourists walked past us with cameras snapping at the flowers and greenery, and locals soaked in the scenery while wearing traditional Japanese yukatas.
One thing that I’ve come to appreciate about living abroad is that nature has the power to make me feel at home. It was hot and humid, but still so beautiful, and reminded me of so many memories shared with my own family back in the States.
From the garden we visited the Imperial Palace. We didn’t have access to the inside of the palace grounds, but it was still interesting to explore the outside of the palace. There was a big moat that surrounded the buildings, and guards carefully watched out for rogue tourists.
On the grounds there was also a garden. The East Garden is the one part of the inner palace area that is open to the public.
I enjoyed the Rikugien Garden a little bit more, but the East Garden was still a beautiful place to explore.
Day Four was one of the hottest days in Tokyo this week; it was about 97°F with high, high, high humidity, so at this point, we were both tired and I was a bit grumpy. But we found some ice cream and then pushed on.
From the palace, we took the metro to Roppongi, where we had reservations for Harry, a hedgehog cafe and pet store. Our reservation wasn’t until 7 p.m. that night, so we grabbed a bite to eat and then walked around the city and caught Pokemon until we could get into the cafe.
Going to a hedgehog cafe was something that I had wanted to do ever since I heard that it opened in February. Japan is well-known for cat cafes, but few know about the owl cafes, lizard cafes, and even the bunny cafe right above Harry’s. With my love for woodland creatures, and of course, ALL OF THE HYPE, why would I NOT spend an hour at Harry’s, cuddling hedgies?
But I must say I have mixed feelings about Harry.
For $20/hour, we sat in one of the smallest rooms I’ve ever been in, and held hedgehogs as well as lizards. Harry’s doesn’t sell food, but there was a drink station in the corner of the room with tea bags and instant coffee packets. You’re able to pick whichever hedgehog you want to hold (they are in glass tanks around the room), and there is also the option of paying ¥500 extra for hedgehog food. Each hedgehog at the cafe is for sale, but are very, very expensive. With our reservation, we also received a personalized note from Harry welcoming us to the cafe, and two hedgehog erasers.
Most of the hedgehogs that we held were really difficult to handle – most did not want to snuggle in my hand, and the first one that I picked to hold bit me right on the thumb. Another hopeful visitor was pooped on a couple of times, and Caleb was almost peed on. Towards the end of the hour, I picked a hedgehog that was a bit more calm, and it curled right up in my hand; a dream come true. The lizards were cool too, and definitely easier to hold.
In the end, I’m glad that I went so that I can say I’ve been to a hedgehog cafe – it’s a great conversation starter, you know? But was it worth the time we waited for our reservation, and the money we paid to hold a few rowdy hedgehogs? Unfortunately not. Next time, we’re going to a cat cafe.
After we said goodbye to the hedgies, we went back to the apartment and got ready for Day Five – DISNEY SEA DAY!
Spoiler Alert: it was amazing.