Located in the heart of Kyoto’s historic Higashiyama district, Starbucks Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya offers a unique blend of traditional Japanese aesthetics and modern coffee culture. This Starbucks branch is in a 100-year-old traditional Japanese townhouse, providing a unique experience for coffee lovers. This article delves into this fabulous Starbucks location’s history, architecture, and overall experience.
A Historic Location in Kyoto
The Significance of Ninenzaka
Ninenzaka, the street on which Starbucks Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya resides, leads to the famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple, one of Kyoto’s major tourist attractions. The sloping street is lined with well-preserved historical buildings and shops, offering a charming atmosphere for visitors. The presence of the Starbucks store on this historical road showcases the company’s commitment to blending seamlessly into Kyoto’s rich cultural heritage.
Preserving the Traditional Japanese Townhouse
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Renovating with Respect for History
The Starbucks Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya is set in a two-story, 100-year-old traditional Japanese townhouse known as a “machiya.” The renovation process involved meticulous preservation of the building’s historic character. The exterior remains virtually untouched, with no Starbucks logo in sight. Instead, customers enter through an indigo curtain, known as a “noren,” signifying the entrance to a traditional establishment.
A Zen Atmosphere
Upon entering, visitors are greeted by an interior featuring tatami mat seating, silk cushions, and a serene Japanese garden. The design elements create a calming atmosphere that pays homage to the tranquility associated with traditional Japanese tea rooms. The architectural choices invite guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of Japanese culture while still enjoying the familiar comfort of Starbucks coffee.
Blending into the Historical Landscape
Starbucks has been present in Japan since the 1990s, making it a priority to integrate into the country’s unique and historical landscapes. The Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya branch is a testament to the success of that mission. The company took on the challenge of meeting the city’s stringent requirements for renovating historical architecture and skillfully transformed the centuries-old residence into a functioning Starbucks store.
A Unique Starbucks Experience
Consistency and Authenticity
Although the Starbucks Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya offers the same menu items as other Starbucks branches, its ambiance sets it apart. The store is the first Starbucks to feature tatami seating and to be housed in a traditional Japanese building. This harmony of tradition and modernity attracts both tourists and locals alike.
Etiquette and Accessibility
Guests can expect to follow a few customs specific to this location. For instance, shoes must be removed before stepping onto the tatami mats. Unfortunately, the narrow layout of the building and the presence of stairs may pose challenges for customers with mobility issues or those carrying large bags.
Starbucks Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya is located at 349 Banchi, Masuya-cho, Shimogawara Higashi-iru, Kodaiji Minamimon-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, 605-0826 Japan. The closest metro station to the location is Gion-Shijo. To get there, take the metro to Gion-Shijo station and walk for about 10 minutes to reach the Starbucks location. It is a great location as part of an itinerary for things to do on your next Kyoto trip, and it can be a stop between Kiyomizu-dera and Yasaka Shrine.
🌟 Travel Hack: How to Experience the Unique Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka ChayaStarbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya is a unique Starbucks location in Kyoto, Japan. Here are some tips to make the most of your visit and experience the authentic Japanese atmosphere:
- Visit early in the morning or late in the evening when the crowds are thinner.
- Take a walk around the area before or after your visit to Starbucks to enjoy the traditional Japanese architecture and atmosphere.
- Try the matcha latte, which is made with high-quality matcha powder and is a popular drink in Japan.
- Sit on the tatami mats and enjoy your coffee while admiring the traditional Japanese decor.
- Take photos of the unique interior design, which features wooden beams, paper lanterns, and other traditional Japanese elements.
- Visit during cherry blossom season (late March to early April) to see the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom in the nearby Maruyama Park.
- Take a stroll down Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka streets, which are lined with traditional shops and restaurants, and enjoy the old-world charm of Kyoto.
By following these tips, you can have a unique and memorable experience at Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya that goes beyond just having a cup of coffee.
Must Visit Starbucks Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya
The Starbucks Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya in Kyoto is a must-visit destination for coffee enthusiasts and lovers of Japanese tradition. The fusion of historical architecture and Starbucks’ modern brand offers a unique, immersive experience unlike any other coffee shop. Whether stopping by for a caffeinated pick-me-up, bite to eat, or simply admiring the beautiful aesthetics, visitors will undoubtedly leave with a greater appreciation for Japan’s rich history and culture.
What makes Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya unique?
Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya is unique because it is the world’s first Starbucks store in a traditional Japanese house with tatami seating. It is also the first Starbucks located in a traditional Japanese house called a machiya. The coffee shop is set inside a two-story, 100-year-old townhouse in the heart of one of Kyoto’s most historic neighborhoods.
What is the history of the building that houses Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya?
The building that houses Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya is over 100 years old and built in the sukiya style. It was renovated to preserve its historic character, and the exterior of the building has been left untouched. The coffee shop blends in amongst the neighboring 19th-century Japanese houses and fits in with the surrounding architecture.
What is the atmosphere like inside Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya?
The atmosphere inside Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya is authentic and refined. The interior design features wooden beams, paper lanterns, tatami mats, silk cushions, and a Japanese garden. The coffee shop has a zen feel to it, and customers can enjoy their coffee while sitting on cushions laid on the tatami mat.
What is the best time to visit Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya?
The best time to visit Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya is early in the morning or late in the evening when the crowds are thinner. Visitors can also avoid weekends and holidays when the place is packed with tourists. Cherry blossom season (late March to early April) is also a great time to visit as visitors can see the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom in the nearby Maruyama Park.
What drinks should I try at Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya?
Visitors should try the matcha latte, which is made with high-quality matcha powder and is a popular drink in Japan. The menu features the same drinks and snacks as in any standard Starbucks in Japan, at the same prices.