A trendy cafe in Tokyo is offering customers a new treat – cuddling pigs.
The Mipig Cafe in fashionable Harajuku is among 10 such pig cafes that have opened around Japan.
The first one opened in Tokyo in 2019. Two more are in the works for later this year.
The animals, known as “micro pigs”, don’t get bigger than a corgi dog, even as adults.
The cafes also feature adorable baby pigs the size of toy poodles.
Pig lovers say they make great pets. They can be purchased for about 200,000 yen (£1,070) from Mipig, have already been toilet-trained and are used to being with people.
Micro pig food is also for sale. Mipig says it has sold 1,300 pigs as pets.
A drink dispensing machine is in the corner of the cafe, but hardly anyone was bothering to get a drink, being too occupied with the pigs.
Foreign tourists visiting the cafe said they found out about it on Instagram and other social media. The cafe does not invest in advertising.
Tourists made sure to include a visit during their trip to Japan, along with the usual tourist spots like the ancient capital of Kyoto, they said.
“It was wonderful. Very relaxing and enjoyable,” said Brad Loomis, a software engineer from Pullman, Washington, after visiting Tokyo’s Mipig Cafe with his 21-year-old daughter, Paige.
They were among dozens of customers on a recent morning, taking selfies and breaking into huge smiles.
The pigs are surprisingly quiet, although they do snort now and then.
They do not like to be alone, making for great companionship. Unlike the stereotype, they are very clean and do not smell.
Customers pay 2,200 yen (£12) for the first 30 minutes in the company of the pigs. A reservation is required.
“Each pig is unique. Each one has his or her own personality. You may notice one may be strong-headed, and another may be gentle,” said Shiho Kitagawa, an executive at Mipig.