Photo by © cinnamonellie

The Bird Watching Cafe / Tadashi Shimada Nature Photo Gallery in Hokkaido [Review]

During my December trip to Hokkaido, I had some spare time to go around the city and explore some new places around Sapporo and Chitose. 

Cafe-hopping or café meguri カフェ巡り happens to be one of my favorite activities in Japan, so having a chance to discover a new place and begin my morning with a good coffee in a relaxing space is the best way to start the day.

One of the things I most enjoy in winter is snow, and Hokkaido is the place to go if you want to inhale some fresh air and walk through the beautiful landscapes covered by a carpet of snow.

Heading off to Chitose and The Bird Watching Café!

Photo by cinnamonellie

The moment I woke up, I looked outside the window, and a snowy scenery unveiled before my eyes. In two more days, I’d have to go back to Kanto, so I thought of using this opportunity to enjoy the scenery while having my morning coffee.

I heard about a place called The Bird Watching Café, and today was the day to go and enjoy some peaceful time while listening to the energetic chirping of the birds.

From the second I learned about it, I found it so unique, and I was excited at the thought of watching birds in their natural habitat while having a delicious breakfast.

Reserve a table ahead of time!

We made a reservation ahead of time because the place is quite popular among locals and tourists and reserved the seats from the window because we wanted to take photos of the birds, too.

I recommend bringing your camera and going during the morning hours when birds are most active. We were in such a rush that we forgot our camera but still managed to immortalize some moments of our time there by taking a few shots on our smartphones.

What to order?

I ordered one of the hot sandwich sets with basil pesto, tomato, and mozzarella cheese which came with soup and a mini salad. It was delicious!


If you go for the set, you can choose between fries or soup, and everything costs about 1,250 JPY. You can also opt for the drink set for an additional 450 JPY.

My biggest weakness is anything that says "seasonal" or "time-limited," so I decided to go for the seasonal シマエナガ shima enaga (long-tailed tit) drink instead.

They have so many drink and food options! Furthermore, everything looks so tasty and cute, so it might get a bit difficult to choose. I can say I spent a lot of time deciding what to get, but I was happy with my choice.

Sitting by the window, we had the opportunity to see the birds frolicking and we took photos of them. The fresh air of the winter in Hokkaido, the birds chirping and having fun, and a delicious breakfast and coffee blend to start my day. What more could I wish for?

You can go for the seats inside or the adjacent "hidden spot." Many photographers choose the hidden spot to get some good shots of the birds, but it is situated outside, so it is pretty cold during wintertime. However, if you want to get some good photos, I recommend going for it (but also dress adequately!).

So many species of birds frolicking!

There are many types of birds you can see, including the shima enaga. This bird is also known as the "snow fairy" in Japan and is one of the most famous birds in Hokkaido Prefecture. It looks so fluffy and similar to a cotton ball, has round eyes, and is the most adorable thing on Earth.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to see it, but we bought some goods starring the adorable white ball of fluff, including a calendar for this year. The calendar features shots of shima enaga taken from the café, and all of them are overflowing with kawaiiness, so they'll definitely make your days brighter when looking at them.

In addition to the calendar, there are also cups, metal badges, and many other items at the entrance of the café.

The Bird Watching Café was initially set up by 嶋田忠 Tadashi Shimada, a famous photographer, and it is also a gallery of nature photography. As you enter, you will notice this gallery featuring several types of birds and animals, so take your time so you can visit it while there.

We stopped by after our meal, and really enjoyed it. I can guarantee that you'll love it, too!

Some of the species that frequent the café are the shima enaga, the Eurasian jay (カケス kakesu), teh Brown-eared bulbul (ヒヨドリ hiyodori), the Varied tit (ヤマガラ yamagara), the Eurasian nuthatch (gojūkara), the black woodpecker (クマゲラ kumagera), the grey-headed woodpecker (ヤマゲラ yamagera), the Japanese pygmy Woodpecker (コゲラキツツキ kogera kitsutsuki), the white-backed woodpecker (オオアカゲラ Ōakagera), the Great spotted woodpecker (アカゲラ akagera), the Eurasian tree sparrow (スズメ or 雀 suzume), and even squirrels of the region and Siberian chipmunks (エゾシマリス ezo shimarisu)!

Photo by cinnamonellie

In conclusion, the food was divine, Tadashi Shimada’s nature photo exhibition was breathtaking, the staff was incredibly welcoming, and the atmosphere was full of tranquility, so we had a wonderful time!

You can check more information and great shots of the feathered visitors on their Official WebsiteInstagram or Facebook Page

By - cinnamonellie.