We have put together two reviews by two of the best reviewers. Their unbiased and independent reviews of Pug Cafe Living Room, Japan speaks volumes. Enjoy.
Pug Cafe Living Room, Japan
During one of our trips to Japan we experienced a pug cafe, a hedgehog cafe, an owl cafe, a mini shiba-inu cafe–welp, they really like their animal themed cafes, don’t they? The Pug Cafe Living Room was our favorite experience of them all!
The fact that I consider it my favorite speaks volumes because it was a journey to make it here. I would factor that into your decision to come here. The location is not near any other attractions or destinations that we had bookmarked to see in Kyoto. If you’re limited on time, just keep in mind that this will steal a few hours of your day. We tried to route the fastest yet least costly route to get here, which ended up being a train transferring to a bus. We mistakenly got off our bus too early and ended up walking for about 20-25 minutes instead of about a 15 minute walk. I was tired and frustrated and starting to regret the decision to come when we arrived. We found a line outside the door. The cafe holds maybe 15-20 people at max. If you’re not seated, there isn’t really anywhere to wait except for outside.
We signed waivers while waiting outside and waited for a little over 30 minutes before we entered. You’ll take off your shoes, store them and use slippers. Pay the entrance fee and get the family ‘pug’ tree and a cup of doggie treats. You are also provided human treats/candies and a drink.
There’s a lot of excitement when you enter the room and find your seats. The pugs know that new people means more snacks. The pugs are much more interested in you when you have treats in your hand (although we figured out that holding out your hand as if you have a treat tricks a couple of them). When you run out of treats to hand out, you have the option of buying additional, which is a larger serving and results in a total pug pile-up. We didn’t purchase any additional treats and still felt like we got enough pug attention and enjoyed ourselves and the many selfies with pugs that we captured.
Each pug has their name and a number labeled on the back of the jersey they are wearing. The trainers (owners?) will periodically call all the pups together for a little roll call. It is so adorable and it really showcases that these dogs are well trained. At the very end you can vote on your favorite out of the family and there’s a chart that tallies who’s received the most votes. It’s a cute way to highlight the different personalities.
If you love pug cuddles and pug snorts, this is the place for you. If you don’t, you may have a black hole for a heart and don’t need to come here.
The Pug Cafe LivingRoom was my choice of for an animal theme cafe visit. I love dogs. More specifically, I love pugs. They are just a funny and loving breed, in general. But, first, I went to the cafe website to make sure it was going to be open on the day I visit. So excited!
The cafe is located smack dab inbetween Nishi-Kyogoku and Katsura stations on the Hankyu Kyoto line. I jumped onto the line from Kawaramachi Station. I believe the cost of the ticket was 260 yen. Fairly inexpensive. If you are coming from the east side of Kyoto and get off at Katsura, you can see the large brown Pug Cafe LivingRoom banner, if you sit on the right side of the train.
It’s about a .3 mile or 15-20 minute walk from Katsura. The path wasn’t too difficult to figure out using the GPS map. I exited the station left and followed the road to the 2nd rail crossing. Once I crossed the tracks, I walked along streets closest to the rail line (on my right), since I already knew that the cafe was along the Hankyu Kyoto line tracks. But, if you’re a visual person like me, I took screenshots of the path that *I* took, including a closeup of where I crossed over. If you decide to walk from Nishi-Kyogoku Station, you are on your own.
You Have Arrived
After arriving at the cafe, you’ll be asked to take off your shoes, be offered a pair of house slippers and given a consent form to fill out. On most days, the cost is 10,000. This will get you one hour of pug time, a paper with the pug family lineage and a small plate of pug snacks. You will also get snacks for yourself and your drink of choice. You can also pay more for tastier treats for the puggies, if you wish. I stuck to the basic plain treats. If you happen to show up on “Special Day”, it’ll cost you 30,000 yen. What happens on “Special Day”? No idea.
The Pug Zone
Once inside the zone, you will be directed to a spot on the couch. You may even be directed to move to a different location at some point during your visit, depending on how crowded it is. Just go with the flow.
When I was there, they had 10 puggerbutts in attendance. Each with their own personalities and people preferences. They all seem to have unique personalities, are well fed and appear extremely happy to get attention from their person of choice….or whoever happens to have the better treat. You can’t expect the pug horde to swarm you in a mass of puppy kisses because they are dogs (and stubborn ones to boot). They’ll just move from person to person, until someone interests them for a moment. But, one of the hosts will get a pug to sit with you (or stand on your shoulders) on command for a selfie moment or five.
Sitting on a sofa, surround by all these pugs was bittersweet because my own pug Squishy had just passed a few weeks earlier. It was still a nice visit despite the fact that I wasn’t drowning in puggy love. In fact, only two pugs specifically came up to me regularly because I happen to give AMAZING puppy back rubs. I got lots of pug cuddles with Mei and Purin. No treats needed for these girls. What cuddling I got, I thoroughly enjoyed.
It was hella hot when I visited in August. With high humidity and hot heat, even an umbrella made the walk to the cafe difficult. Thankfully, the cafe host was kind enough to call in a taxi for me. It did cost me almost 700 yen; but, to beat walking back in the heat? Worth it. If the weather was more favorable, it would be an easy walk.
Overall, well worth the visit for an hour at 10,000 yen, despite the ridiculous heat. Would I do it, again? Probably not as there are many other animal themed cafes to visit. But, if you happen to love dogs and/or obsessed with pugs, this is a must do once kinda thing.