A fee of 1,000 yen (£6.30, $9.00) on weekdays and 1,300 yen on weekends and holidays, gives people an hour of playing with the prickly mammals. They have long been sold and bred in Japan as pets, despite not being native to the country.

"We wanted to show people the charm of hedgehogs, which have the impression of being hard to handle. We wanted to get rid of that image by letting people touch them," said staff member Mizuki Murata.

"There have been queues outside the store since we first opened and we've had to keep people waiting at times. We're happy to have had a lot of reservations," she added.

The café's name, Harry, is a play on the animal's name in Japanese, as "hari" means needle in Japanese.

"All of these hedgehogs are friendly even though some of them might spike you," said 11-year-old visitor from the UK, Anna Cheung.

"It's very rare to see a hedgehog. The only way for my children to see a hedgehog is to come to a place like this. That's why," said Kimberley Russe.

Animal cafés are not rare in Tokyo – there are already cat, rabbit, owl, hawk and even snake cafés in the city.