By Euan McKirdy, CNN
Updated 0557 GMT (1357 HKT) December 10, 2015
(CNN)Tokyo's Akihabara district is an "otaku" paradise -- best known as a mecca for the legions of self-styled nerds who love "manga" Japanese comics -- as well as electronics, video games and models of cartoon robots.
But down an unassuming side street, away from the flashing, neon glare of the main strip, is an altogether more soothing environment.
Akiba Fukurou is the brainchild of Shusaku Yasu, an early-thirties owl enthusiast who has brought a little alternative night life to the buzzing district.
In the owl cafe sit around 25 owls, of varying sizes and breeds, quietly eyeing the human guests as they step around the quiet room. It's not a big space -- around 400 square feet in total, but the owls, which sit on perches around the room. are well behaved and entrancing, and the quietude lends the whole setup a certain serenity.
Akiba Fukurou is the latest in a line of animal cafes that are popping up around Tokyo -- and further afield -- of increasing degrees of exoticism. First were cat cafes (now passe), then rabbits (cute, but ultimately a little boring), and reptile cafes (creepy?) and, now, owls.
Marta Kaczan is a Polish customer and finance worker visiting Tokyo from London, where she lives. She tells CNN that the owl cafe wasn't primarily the reason why she made her trip, but she's made it her mission to fit in as many animal cafes -- including an earlier pit stop at a snake cafe -- as she can during her brief period in the Japanese capital.
It's not just the novelty that attracts people, however. Yasu says that he's had people come back "60, 70 times" to the space -- although sadly there's no record of an entranced customer uttering the immortal line: "Owl be back."
This might be to do with the setup. Unlike some of Tokyo's other owl cafes, customers are allowed quite a high degree of interaction with the Akiba owls. For a fee of ¥1500 ($12) patrons are invited to pick an owl and sit at one of the small tables with it, stroking their impossibly soft feathers and cooing.