Japanese Café Using Cuddly Capybaras To Enforce Social Distancing

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 22 May 2020 19:01

A Japanese café is using cuddly capybaras to enforce social distancing, and we’re totally here for it.


Since some businesses across the country have reopened their doors recently, this café at Izu Shaboten Zoo in Shizuoka wanted to ensure their customers’ safety upon doing so.

Not only is it super cute, it’s actually a pretty good idea as it forces those visiting the café to not sit too close together and enjoy the company of cuddly toys instead.

The zoo explained its new, innovative idea on its website and elaborated about why they want to ensure their customers enjoy their meals with ‘peace of mind’.

CafeCafeIzu Shaboten Zoo Group

Under the photograph of two women eating at the restaurant, it reads:

At GIBBONTEI, a forest animal restaurant in the Izu Shaboten Zoological Park, stuffed animals such as capybaras and red pandas share a seat with customers, contributing not only to their cuteness but also to ensuring social distance of the audience.

And as part of measures to prevent new coronavirus infection, we have changed the table layout so that customers who are eating can keep a sufficient distance, and stuffed animals can also ‘replace’ and share a seat with capybara or red panda. [This] has been devised so that the social distance can be secured naturally.

They added that they have installed a hand sanitiser at the entrance and exit of the café as well as thoroughly disinfecting the table, chairs, and stuffed animals every time a new party goes to a table.


Why capybaras though, you ask? Apparently the restaurant was renovated spring 2018 and after doing so, the capybara stuffed toy became ‘the face of the restaurant’.


It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.

Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Animals, cafe, Capybaras, Izu Cactus Animal Park Group, Izu Shaboten Zoo, Japan, Life, Social Distancing


Izu Cactus Animal Park Group
  1. Izu Cactus Animal Park Group

    Secure a social distance with Capybara