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Birds and Coffee
Kotori Cafe is a bird cafe located in the areas of Omote-sando, Shinsaibashi, and Kichijoji. A small pastel colored cafe that sits off the beaten track. It is small and cute. Ideal for bird lovers.
The birds do not fly freely here. You observe them in large glass rooms. You are free to take photographs. For a charge of ¥500, you can go into the petting room and spend 5 minutes handling the birds. A little expensive for someone who lives here, but a unique experience for a traveler.
Once you have done that you can enjoy a selection of animal themed cakes and cookies with coffee or tea. There is even a kids menu.
You can also buy souvenirs from the cafe too.
The rating is 4/5 because of the ¥500 charge to pet the animals. However, there is not an expensive cover charge like other cafes do. So take it as a 4.5/5.
There is not any bilingual staff, but the menu is bilingual.
In the Area
We've been a few times to this restaurant at the top of Omote Sando, but this past weekend was the first time there was such a big group of us. The space is good for a group, but their pricing system isn't. Most of our group ordered the pasta lunch set which is advertised as 1,500 per person, but there are hidden costs. The bill was way off what we had budgeted for, even with taking into account the extra cost for alcohol. The staff explained that some of the pasta dishes we ordered cost extra. This was not clearly marked on the menu and that is what caused the confusion. They also do not allow people pay individually, which isn't ideal for a group of more than 15 which is what we were. In saying all that, the food is really delicious and the portions are very generous. The set comes with bread, a salad and a hot beverage or you can pay 300 yen extra for wine. It is very good value for money for this part of Tokyo.It is open from 11.30 am to 2 am seven days a week. It is a popular spot so I advise making a reservation. There are stairs down to the restaurant and they request you fold up any strollers or buggies and store then near the bottom of the stairs. Its a no smoking restaurant, but they have a smoking room outside.
Toni & Guy Japan came highly recommended to me before I visited and I was familiar with the salon as there are a few branches in my home country. I certainly wasn't disappointed, but I don't think their hair cuts are any better than any other salon I've been to. Where Toni & Guys strength lies is colouring foreign hair; the stylist I use is without doubt the best colourist I've met in Japan. For a cut I just go local, but for a colour I take the long trip into Tokyo. The two main benefits of going to a Toni & Guy is that their staff are trained in working with all types of hair and that the majority of them speak English. They charge more than average, but they also offer an experience rather than just a hair cut or colour. The salon is bright and airy with very comfortable chairs. They spend time talking with you and figuring out what look would work best for you. They offer plenty of bevarages during your visit. They give a head and shoulder massage after your shampoo. They take a photo of your hair after your done, so they have a record of what style, look and/or colour you were (or were not) happy with. I found the staff to be particularly friendly yet professional, and exceptionally attentive with superb skills.They open Wednesday to Monday, Tuesdays are closed. On weekdays the hours are 11 am to 9 pm and on Saturday and Sunday the hours are 10 am to 7 pm. I strongly advise you make an appointment in advance. If you can't speak Japanese, the receptionist will put you on the phone to someone who speaks English..
I often times have friends from different countries come over and visit me in Tokyo. At the beginning I barely had any idea where to take them out for lunch or dinner. Only recently did I discover Sakura Tei, and it's been my go-to place ever since.LOCATIONSakura Tei is pretty hidden in the alleys of Harajuku. I basically google mapped my way to the restaurant but it's basically past Takeshita street, and you have to cross Meiji Dori and go through the little streets from there. (btw, there are a lot of other finds along the way) You may refer to the photos so you have an idea how the front looks like.SPACEThis place is big and it's great for groups; it can actually fit up to 170 people. The ambience is very chill and there are a lot of art works on the walls. Pretty hipster to me actually and I love it.MENUSakura Tei's main dishes are okonomiyaki and monjayaki. Most people know about the former but rarely hear about that latter (myself included). If you haven't heard about monjayaki, to put it simply, it is the Kanto region's version of okonomiyaki, only thinner and stickier. Sakura Tei has its own sauce and creations for these two main dishes (I've tried a bunch from the menu and I've enjoyed each one). Aside from that, they also have yakisoba, teppanyaki, and other appetizers and even desserts. Another awesome feature of Sakura Tei is their All-You-Can-Eat lunch (with 1 soft drink) which is available on weekends and holidays from 11 AM to 3 PM for only 1,250! If you want bottomless soft drinks with that, it costs only 1,750. Of course, in Japan, buffets are timed, so in this case, your all-you-can-eat lunch is only for 90 minutes. If you prefer unlimited alcohol, it's available any time for 1,500 yen up to 120 minutes. You may refer to the photos to see what drinks they serve. GENERAL DINING EXPERIENCEThe staff are very nice and most can speak/understand English. There are some foreign staff as well. If you do not know how to make your monja/ okonomiyaki, they can help you out. It's really fun when you do it yourself though. Cooking our own food right there on the table is something that my friends really enjoyed. Try it! I would definitely recommend this place to everyone. The restaurant is open from 11 AM to 12 midnight all year round. If you want to see the detailed menu, here is their official website: http://www.sakuratei.co.jp/en/index.html
Roppongi Hills is always good for a special occasion. Everyone is pretty dressed up here, and there are a number of bars and restaurants that can cater to those looking to splash out a bit more (or a lot more) cash than they would normally.One such place in restaurant The French Kitchen, located on the second floor of the Grand Hyatt Hotel.Right away you know this place is class. The interior is all rich browns and mood lighting. A wall of glass looks out onto a cozy and private terrace (where you can also sit down to eat), and inside, a massive open-front kitchen provides the backdrop for your dining experience. We got here early evening, and the place was fairly quiet (we'd made reservations). We were seated near the kitchen (would have preferred the terrace but it was closed for a wedding party). We went with a dinner course for around 6,000 yen (includes tea/coffee), appetizer/soup, main, and dessert. For my main I had the lamb. Now, I'm no expert on food, but I'd of liked it to have been cooked more, and a little less fatty/oily.The service here was excellent. Everyone was very friendly (not at all stuffy), and one waitress offered to take our picture for us. Despite being a bit of a flashy place (by my standards, at least), the atmosphere at The French Kitchen was relaxed, and I didn't feel out of place (although the wallet probably did). It's not cheap, but that's why we came here, for a special occasion. And I'd recommend it to others for the same purpose.I do seem to remember feeling like it was a bit dark in there though.
So this is a unique new craze that has started in Japan. Hedgehog cafés. I first had about this café about a year ago. I thought how on earth are they going to keep non-native animals in Japan awake during the day so that visitors can come and play with them. So several months ago I decided to pay a visit to this café.I must admit that I was surprised. I arrived at the café and I went inside. It was small and crowded. The hedgehogs what encouraged by the staff to sleep during the day anyway. The hedgehogs that were awake were being played with the customers. The staff ensured that the hedgehogs took proper breaks.The nicest thing about this café is that if you want to you can take your own drink. They do serve free drinks at their self service by.It is quite fun to play with the hedgehogs. You have to follow the instructions. However, you can enjoy the whole time that you have with one hedgehog.Believe it or not, they also sell these hedgehogs as pets! Only in Japan will they ever think of keeping hedgehogs as a pet. It is a little pricey to buy a hedgehog as a pet, but they do go through everything with you that you need to know first if you were to buy one.Another nice treat this café has is that the staff is bilingual, so if you are coming from an English-speaking country, you should be absolutely fine. In order to attend the café, you have to pre-book in advance via the website. If you are more than 10 minutes late, then they automatically cancel your appointment. They then gave your place to somebody who is waiting to go inside.The quietest days at during the week Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday and national holidays all get extremely busy.