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A Teahouse-Style Starbucks Is Coming to Kyoto

Opening this week

kyoto tea house starbucks Courtesy of Starbucks Japan

Starbucks’ latest location in Japan could become an attraction in itself. The company is set to unveil a fully renovated, historical teahouse cafe in Kyoto’s popular Higashiyama district on June 30.

The two-story, Edo-style building is located on Ninezaka Street, near some of Kyoto’s most popular cultural sites. Built more than a century ago, the space operated as a traditional teahouse until 2005.

Starbucks kept historical and cultural practices in mind when renovating the one-of-a-kind outpost. Instead of a regular sign, according to Rocket News, customers enter the 51-seat Ninenzaka Street cafe beneath a traditional noren fabric sign with the Starbucks logo. The first floor includes the coffee bar and is decorated with paper lanterns. Windows and hallways throughout feature views of the building’s surrounding gardens and stonework.

Keeping with the custom in Japan, visitors are expected to remove their shoes before heading up to the second level. That area has been divided into three sitting rooms with tatami reed floors and cushions.

The coffee bar at Starbucks in Kyoto (left); A room featuring tatami mats and cushions (right)
Courtesy of Starbucks Japan

While the new Kyoto cafe may look different from the average Starbucks, the company is known to occasionally stray from its regular design. In Los Angeles, the coffee giant helped preserve a piece of 1950s filling station nostalgia in 2015. However, the chain seems to pursue culturally adaptive designs more regularly in Japan where cafes feature special additions like noryo-yuka terraces.

Starbucks Japan Teahouse Press Release [Official]
New Kyoto Starbucks Has the Beauty, Historical Pedigree to be a Sightseeing Attraction Itself [Rocket News]
All Starbucks Coverage [ED]