Experiencing the Raccoon and Meerkat Cafes in Seoul

Raccoons are surprisingly friendly creatures–not home wreckers!

As an animal lover, I have been to every single animal cafe in Japan so during my first trip to Korea I decided to visit all of the ones that Japan doesn’t have.  My research led me to find two separate animal cafes for raccoons and meerkats in two of Seoul’s major districts.  In this article I will be reporting my experiences from both cafes as part of my ongoing Korea article series.

Meerkat Friends

Before being locked in a cage with dozens of these creatures and having one try to crawl up my skirt, I had no idea that meerkats were such feisty mongooses.  I thought they would behave similar to ferrets–finicky but overall pleasant and holdable.  Instead these meerkats loved play-fighting with one another and could never sit still so it was very difficult to interact with them (and also take photos, but that’s beside the point).

Upon further research I discovered that they are actually carnivores, so this kind of behavior completely makes sense!  They are so entertaining to watch and this is a rare opportunity to see them up close, so I would recommend coming here if you get the chance.  Just be careful of what you wear because it may get stuck on their claws!  You will be lent an apron when you enter the meerkat playpen.

In addition to the playful meerkats, this cafe also has cats and wallabies in separate areas, so it really is worth the money!  The wallabies were a lot more friendly and could easily be pet and fed.  I was happy to see that the cafe was clean and that all the animals seemed to get along with one another.

Meerkat Friends Address

364-3 서교동, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Entrance Fee: 10,000KRW

Blind Alley

Blind Alley is one of the best animal cafes that I’ve been to!  In America, raccoons have quite bad reputations as animals that break into houses and are quite greedy with stealing food.  However, the ones at this cafe were very calm and relaxed.  The store asks that you do not pick them up, however, if you offer them food they will likely come to you.

A sign at the store reads:

Do not try to hold or put the raccon on your head, it’s the raccoon’s choice, not yours. Only lucky people will be able to enjoy that kind of moment. Sorry

I thought that was very funny!  Fortunately I was one of the “lucky people” and the raccoon climbed on my head for a brief second.  It surprisingly did not hurt at all.  The raccoons have a lot of space at this cafe so they can choose to climb into the rafters or freely interact with visitors.  I think that Blind Alley had a pretty good setup.

In addition to raccoons, there was one baby pig there as well when I visited in 2018.  I was able to hold him in a blanket for a while.

Overall both of my animal cafes in Seoul were very pleasant and the system was similar to Tokyo.  At the raccoon cafe, I was able to stay as long as I wanted so I was very grateful for that.

Blind Alley Address

76 Cheongpa-ro 47-gil, Cheongpadong 2(i)-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Entrance Fee: 6,000KRW

Tokyo’s Extremely Charming Mipig Cafe

Earlier last week I had the pleasure of going to Japan’s very first micro pig (dubbed “Mipig”) Cafe located in Meguro.  What exactly is a micro pig, you ask?  Micro pigs are miniature pigs that are specially bred to be smaller in size and have friendly, dog-like personality traits while they are young.  They have sparked somewhat of a controversy online due to many people wanting them as pets but not being prepared to look after them when they rapidly grow in size.  Though the Japan Times cautions pet owners the risks of owning a micro pig, they are legal to own in this country and can live a healthy lifestyle if properly cared for.  When I entered the cafe, I was happy to see it was clean and that the pigs were both energetic and welcoming of human company.

The Mipig Cafe currently has 2 locations in Tokyo (Meguro and Harajuku) and can be booked in timeslots of 30 or 60 minutes by making a reservation online.  We decided to go to the Meguro location simply because it has less traffic.  Once you arrive, you will be given simple instructions on how to interact with the pigs, and be asked to order a drink around 600 yen.  We also ordered cake for ourselves as well which was surprisingly delicious.  The cost to enter the cafe is 800 yen per 30 minutes, which is quite affordable compared to other animal cafes.  I had previously held a baby pig while I was in Korea, but this was my first time ever seeing them run around:

Interacting with the pigs is quite easy and fun.  As you can see from the video, basically they will come to you!  They are very curious creatures and love to be petted and fed.  We bought some feed for them and instantly they ran over towards us (the food can be purchased for 100 yen and I recommend buying it for them).  Taking pictures of them proved to be quite difficult as they love to move and run around, but I went more for the experience since it’s quite easy to take photographs of baby pigs at farms and zoos.

What happens to the micro pigs when they outgrow their micro status and become adult pigs?  According to the official Mipig FAQ, they are eventually be adopted to a new family after they have acquired social training and sufficient human interaction at the cafe.  That is why I think this cafe is a great place to interact with the pigs without having the risk of being unable to suit their needs as a pet owner.  Though the controversy of breeding these pigs still remains, fortunately there seem to be a growing amount of resources in Japan to educate pet owners on proper care.