Japanese culture purists may see it as an abomination, but you can hardly escape Starbucks in Japan nowadays. Even in culturally important areas the chain have started adapting their store aesthetic to sneakily slip their branches into the existing historical townscape. Depending on your outlook, this could either be seen as a dire threat to Japanese tradition or a fun and interesting way to experience your fave Frappuccino.
Currently you can visit these ‘traditional’ Starbucks in various locations, like the one in a renovated Edo period townhouse in Kawagoe, or the first ever ‘tatami mat Starbucks’ in Kyoto. The newest addition to this lineup of old-timey looking coffee shops is going to be on the shopping street leading up to Zenkoji Temple in Nagano.
Located in close proximity to the temple’s Niomon Gate, the store’s design reflects traditional Japanese wooden buildings and has been built using five types of wood sourced from Nagano prefecture. The wood features give the interior a warm atmosphere which will greet customers at the serving counter. These cosy vibes continue to the second floor of the building with a skylight and traditional ‘shoji’ sliding paper doors. Original features of the building such as wooden beams and stone lanterns have also been incorporated into the design, keeping a Japanese ‘essence’.