Rent-a-Dog at Dog Heart, Yoyogi Hachiman
If you've always wanted a dog, but living restraints wouldn't allow it, head to Dog Heart in Yoyogi where you can experience all the delights of dog ownership (including scooping the poop) for a reasonable fee.
On entering the shop we were greeted by a chorus of excited barking, and a group of adorable toy poodles, beagles and even a gorgeous golden retriever rushed up to the gate holding them in check, all eager to say hello. It’s impossible not to smile at the sight of them panting and wagging their tails. Their happy energy is just so unavoidably infectious.
There are a couple of options for interacting with the dogs. First you can simply hang out with them at the shop. Though the place is small—basically an apartment—it functions as a puppy petting zoo. What better way to relax after a grueling work week than frolicking with a group of dogs who are happy to see you? The “petting fee” starts at ¥950 per person for 30 minutes. Small children are welcome, too.
Second, you can choose one of the dogs and take it for a walk, but only around nearby Yoyogi Park. All dog-walking fees start at ¥3,600 for one hour (total, not per person), which can be extended for an extra fee. On the website under “staff info” are squee-inducing profiles of each dog so you can decide which one you want to take for a stroll.
You’ll have to fill out a form and sign a waiver, which at the time of our visit was all in Japanese, but the staff member on duty was very friendly and did her best to help. After that we were given supplies like water and poop bags, and finally met our doggy Clara-chan (キララーちゃん).
I’ve never had a dog before, and it was so much fun walking Clara-chan around. She’s a gray toy poodle, and she got lots of attention from passing strangers. Luckily we didn’t have to break out the poop scoop.
However Clara-chan is a bit of a princess, and near the end of the hour she decided she’d had enough of this walking business, and insisted on being carried the rest of the way back. But she’s just so cute that I didn’t mind.
I had a blast playing with the dogs at Dog Heart, and I’d recommend it to any dog lovers in Tokyo.
Address: 2F Y’s Park Building, 1-45-2 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Open: Daily, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.