Japan’s latest Mipig Cafe lets customers cuddle and spend time with pigs
Initially, there were cafés where pets were allowed. Then came the cat cafés, where feline companionship took precedence over lattes. And now the latest trend in Japan is the pig café.
Those who have already paid a visit to this unique cafe are of the view that they had a wonderful, very relaxing and enjoyable experience. If reports are to go by, people have started visiting this cafe in large numbers, taking selfies with miniature pigs, a breed no larger than a corgi dog, roamed the room, seeking laps for cuddling.
Despite occasional snorts, the pigs are surprisingly quiet, craving companionship and shunning solitude. Contrary to stereotypes, they were clean and odor-free. Customers are happy to pay around 2,200 yen ($15) for the first 30 minutes with the pigs, requiring a reservation.
Shiho Kitagawa, an executive at Mipig, referred to the pigs as ‘buta-san’ with an honorific, stressing their uniqueness and individual personalities. The Harajuku-based Mipig Café is one of 10 such establishments in Japan, with two more planned for the year.
These ‘micro pigs’ make ideal pets, resembling toy poodles in size, and can be purchased for around 200,000 yen ($1,350) from Mipig. The café also offers pig food for sale. A drink dispensing machine also stands in the corner.
Foreign tourists discovered the café through social media, with Instagram being a popular source. The café, despite no advertising, attracts visitors eager to include it in their Japan itinerary.
While some express concerns about the ethical treatment of animals in such cafés, others point out the positive impact of animal interactions on human well-being. Referring to this, Dr. Bruce Kornreich from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine notes that interacting with animals can lower blood pressure, reduce headaches, and enhance a sense of well-being.
Experts add that there is increasing evidence suggesting that being in the company of and owning pets can offer both mental and physical health advantages for individuals.
Despite ethical debates, the pig café is part of a series of animal coffee shops in Japan, featuring various creatures such as owls, hedgehogs, birds, and snakes. While ethical concerns persist, the positive impact of animal interaction on human health and well-being remains a subject of interest and study.