If you’re sick of the traditional bar scene, Tokyo’s Bar Yatonokami might be the change you’ve been looking for. Just west of Tokyo’s city center, this bar’s aesthetic resembles a shady club, with blue fluorescent lights, pictures of reptiles covering the walls, and an attic-like second-floor location. When you open the door, you’ll be greeted by rows of reptile terrariums, home to over 100 creatures.
— BAR 夜刀神-YATONOKAMI- (@yatonokami_0722) January 9, 2019
Bar Yatonokami — which translates to “Bar of the Night Sword God” — prides itself on its inclusive atmosphere. You don’t even have to be particularly interested in reptiles to feel at home here. According to Nishikawa, the owner, about 20 percent of his customers simply notice the bar’s unusual entryway and stairwell — covered in reptile photos — and stop in out of curiosity.
— BAR 夜刀神-YATONOKAMI- (@yatonokami_0722) December 30, 2018
Nishikawa is a strong advocate for people adopting reptiles as pets, insisting that any negative stigma is unfounded. Since they’re low maintenance, don’t make much noise, won’t damage your furniture, and only require food once every few days, he says they’re truly ideal companions.
Reptile cafes have become increasingly popular in Japan. In addition to Bar Yatonokami, there’s also the Reptile Cafe in Yokohama, the Reptile Cafe and Bar Arrive in Kobe, and the Reptile Cafe Again in Osaka. Some establishments serve food as well as drinks. While most cafes have rules regarding the handling of their reptiles, remember that since they’re not domesticated or social animals, they shouldn’t be handled for more than 30 minutes per day to avoid causing them stress.