Kyoto’s Edo style Starbucks
Have you always dreamed of travelling back in time and sipping tea in the old capital of Japan during the Edo period, whilst simultaneously giving in to the capitalist machine? I know I sure have. And since you can’t answer me presently, I’ll presume you have too. Well, looks like we’re both in luck. There exists a magical coffee place in the land of Japan, the old capital Kyoto is home to a Starbucks unlike any other on earth, a double shot venti mocha here comes with a free trip back in time.
Walk through the doors and enter a world of kimonos and tatami floors. Located in the heart of the popular shopping street Ninenzaka – which also happens to be one of the best preserved streets of old Kyoto, this Starbucks provides a truly unique experience – completely void of the standard chaotic vibe of your conventional Starbucks. Exclusivity is the word here, with lines forbidden from forming at the front of the shop and only a limited number of patrons being allowed entry at any one time.
The beautifully constructed former residence turned coffee house is unassuming in nature, it perfectly blends in with its surroundings and would look like just another old house were it not for the subtle Starbucks logo printed on the noren fabric curtain separating the street from the entrance. The interior keeps true to the old style of its surroundings and is decorated with paper lanterns and a sleekly polished, aesthetically pleasing wooden interior. The many windows and hallways throughout this unique Starbucks offer up some great views of the traditional stonework and gardens which surround the building.
The building itself is more than 100 years old and consists of two floors. The ground floor is where you order your drink of choice. I highly recommend the green tea frappucino. Once you’ve got your green tea frappuccino, head upstairs to the main attraction – a second floor relaxation area featuring three tatami rooms. You wont find chairs up here, instead little tables are placed far apart, allowing guests to fully enjoy their space. The whole floor is designed to feel spacious and allow the old energy to flow throughout – ensuring a fully immersive and genuinely relaxing experience. Have a seat on the floor and enjoy your drink of choice in tranquility, and don’t forget to take off your shoes.
Take your rime and enjoy the grand view of old Kyoto rooftops afforded from the second floor, and once you’ve got your caffeine hit head out and explore the local area. The Yasaka Pagoda is only a few minutes walk away and is an excellent place to sit in contemplation, or watch people take selfies. Whatever you’re into.
The vibrantly coloured Yasaka Koshindo Shrine is right next door. It gets its colour thanks to the seemingly endless Kukurizaru that are piled throughout the place – basically ball shaped cloth talismans which represent control over one’s inner desires. The shrine is a nice place to sit and connect with the zen side of yourself, or snap an Instagram picture that will get at least 12 likes. Again, whatever you’re into.
Kyoto's Edo style Starbucks
Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Tea Parlor