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Bear Paw Cafe

A cafe that puts mental health at the forefront

By Kim    - 2 min read

At first glance, Osaka's newly-opened Bear Paw Café may seem like nothing more than a cute gimmick. The blink and you'll miss it premises serves up a variety of drinks and aesthetically pleasing parfaits which are delivered via a bear paw extended through a hole in the wall — there is no human interaction involved, making it a true introvert's paradise.

It's got all of the elements that make for a social media hit: it's unique, quirky, and the goodies served up are photogenic to boot.

Dig a little deeper, though, and you'll find that the new fixture on Osaka's café scene is much more than just a short-term novelty. It was created to support people suffering from various mental health conditions by providing a low-stress working environment.

The idea of working in a customer-facing role can be overwhelming to many people, particularly those with social anxiety and other anxiety disorders. Eliminating this stressor while still helping individuals with meaningful employment is a pathway to building confidence and skills which are transferable to other jobs in the future.

The café website gives a brief, anonymous bio of the six staff currently working there, which include a hikikomori (someone suffering from severe social withdrawal) — so you can really see how the café provides opportunities to those who may find it difficult adapting to a traditional work environment. If you're in the area and looking for a caffeine fix or sweet treat, be sure to stop by!

Note: If you plan to visit, the café is open from 11 am until 7 pm daily, but they are closed each Tuesday.

Getting there

Osaka's Bear Paw Café is located just two minutes on foot from Ōsaka Uehommachi Station — Exit 7 is closest to the venue. The station is served by the Kintetsu Railway's Osaka Line, Nara Line, and Namba Line.

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Bonson Lam 2 weeks ago
This is a whimsical and welcome addition to the cafe scene in Osaka. Part fairy tale story, and 100% committed to mental health and wellbeing, I can't wait to visit.
Kim Author 2 weeks ago
I completely agree. I think it's wonderful, and I hope the business is really successful.
Justin Velgus 2 weeks ago
Interesting on so many levels. What a great idea and one that I think many people want to support. Thanks for sharing!
Kim Author 2 weeks ago
Yes, I definitely agree! I think it's such an encouraging way to help ease people with things like social anxiety into the workforce, without that stress of having customers right there, face to face. I'm a big fan of these initiatives, I'd love to see more businesses follow suit in some capacity!
Elena Lisina 2 weeks ago
Funny! In our zoo we liked to watch how bears begged for treats with paws! Some kids threw sweets and bears could unwrap them. Later that was forbidden, for good!
Kim Author 2 weeks ago
Oh wow, I never would have thought they'd be able to do that!