The Most Beautiful Starbucks in Japan
Starbucks is easily one of the most recognizable coffee chains around the world. You can find their iconic logo in over 78 countries across 6 continents, and their drinks often got viral on social media. In Japan they have an almost cult-like following, and to fuel their fans they’ve created some of the most unique and beautiful Starbucks shops across the prefectures. With respect for local history, the culture of the country and cafe culture, they not only attract many locals, but tourists as well.
Credit: John Daub
How loved the brand actually is in Japan became known to the world during the opening of the first Starbucks in Tottori. For this opening hundreds of fans lined up to be the first to enter the cafe. And during the opening of the world’s largest Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Meguro, they used a lottery system to give winners access tickets based on specific time slots to visit. I can’t fathom to enter a lottery for a coffee shop! Even today, it’s not uncommon to have to wait for an hour or more at this Starbucks on Saturdays and Sundays. So what makes this shop so special? Let’s take a look inside. See why this establishment is considered to be one of the ‘examples’ of this giant chain:
Starbucks specials in Japan
As you can see, there is more than ‘just coffee’ available at this roastery. Besides coffee, tea and cocktails, Starbucks’ popularity in Japan also keeps growing by offering seasonal, limited-time beverages and merchandise. Most of these limited editions are exclusive to the country as well, which gives people a greater urge to buy and try them. Below is an overview of all the Starbucks specials for 2021, with spring being my favorite season:
Other local Starbucks specials
Okay, the Halloween-specials also looked amazing. And their Christmas-specials… They don’t slap a logo on some generic item and call it a day. Because they make unique items, you are more subjected to the FOMO-culture and wanting to buy it as well. It elevates their brand and makes it part of an item that you would want in your home, instead of labeling it promotional materials and skip it.
Insta-worthy Starbucks shops in Japan
Moreover, they found a way to adapt to the local culture of the cities and prefectures they build their shops in. By using inspiration from the surrounding architecture, they create one-of-a-kind spaces you can’t help but wonder in. Depending on the location they’re in, you might even have a difficult time recognizing the store (something most brands normally stay away from). Take the traditional-looking shop in Kyoto for example, where you have to look for the green mermaid logo to actually know a well-known chain is hidden between these traditional shops.
The most beautiful Starbucks in Japan
So what is the most beautiful Starbucks in Japan? For me it’s the Starbucks hidden in the streets of Kyoto. I might be biased because I’ve been there myself, but look at that building (in the video 4.30). To match the neighborhood, the cafe resembles a traditional warehouse. The wooden exterior, the sign that’s in the same style as the house, the entrance which feels like you’ve stepped inside a traditional building… All of it just adds to the experience and makes it worth visiting at least once.
The corridors have traditional shoji paper doors to separate spaces, and the old dark wood on the floor looks like it was repurposed from the original building as well. You can use the traditional tatami mats to sit and enjoy your beverage. You can either look outside to the busy small streets or enjoy the artwork on the walls. Or maybe take a look at the garden? The outdoor terrace at the back offers opens out to a serene Japanese garden.
I think they have done an amazing job at integrating a chain store into the local landscape. If only more chains would do this! What did you think was the most beautiful Starbucks in Japan? Or do you have a favorite cafe we need to know about? Leave a reply in the comments!