Initially there were cafes that allowed pets. Then came cat cafes, where interacting with cats took precedence over lattes. And now the latest trend in Japan - cafes with pigs.
Those who have already visited this unique cafe, they feel they have had a wonderful, very relaxing and enjoyable experience. If reports are to be believed, people began visiting the cafe in droves, taking selfies with the miniature pigs, a breed no larger than a corgi dog, who wandered around the room looking for a place to cuddle.
Despite the occasional snort, the pigs surprisingly quiet, crave companionship and avoid loneliness. Contrary to stereotypes, they were clean and odorless. Customers are willing to pay about 2,200 yen ($15) for the first 30 minutes of interaction with the pigs, and advance reservations are required.
Shiho Kitagawa, head of Mipig, called the pigs "buta-san" with the honorific appeal, emphasizing their uniqueness and individuality. Mipig Café in Harajuku is one of 10 such establishments in Japan, with two more planned for this year.
These “micro pigs” make ideal pets, about the size of toy poodles. They can be purchased from the Mipig store for approximately 200,000 yen ($1,350 USD). The cafe also sells pig feed. There is also a drink dispensing machine in the corner.
Foreign tourists learned about the cafe through social networks, with Instagram becoming a popular source. The cafe, despite the lack of advertising, attracts visitors who want to include it in their Japan itinerary.
While some have expressed concerns about the ethical treatment of animals in such cafes, others have noted the positive impact interactions with animals on human well-being. Citing this, Dr. Bruce Kornreich of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine notes that spending time with animals can lower blood pressure, reduce headaches and improve well-being.
Experts add that there is growing evidence that that being around and owning pets can provide both mental and physical health benefits to people.
Despite the ethical debate, the pig café is part of a series animal coffee shops in Japan, featuring various creatures such as owls, hedgehogs, birds and snakes. Although ethical concerns remain, the positive impact of interactions with animals on human health and well-being remains a topic of interest and study.