The coffee giant’s latest boutique is in the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto
Starbucks is going native for its new store in the former Japanese imperial capital of Kyoto,
The Seattle-based coffee chain has leased a century-old Japanese townhouse – home to former geishas – for its latest outpost. But forget the blonde wood tables and dark green insignia that is a trademark of most of its boutiques.
Judging by pictures from Starbucks Japan, entrance to the cafe—which opens Friday—is via stooping under a noren (or entry banner) that bears the stylized Starbucks mermaid logo. Per East Asian customs, you’ll be asked to remove your shoes before you can enter the seating area, which comes with tatami reed flooring and crepe floor cushions. There’ll also be benches for those unaccustomed to sitting on terra firma.
Other local touches reportedly include paper lamps and kimono fabric scrolls with Starbucks-themed prints. If you want to wonder about, there are also Japanese gardens on the property, and stone water basins in the bathrooms. According to SoroNews24, a Japanese news site, the latest cafe sits on a steep, tourist-heavy street that leads up to the Kiyomizudera Temple, part of a UNESCO historical site. And fret not if you’ve decided to abandon coffee on your latest Asian sojourn— Starbucks Japan serves green tea too.
There are over 1,100 Starbucks outlets in Japan and the new Kyoto outfit will be the 27th in that ancient city. Japan was the American coffee purveyor’s first international market and is now currently its fourth largest in the world.
A new Starbucks will be opening in Kyoto that blends in with the local aesthetic and architecture! pic.twitter.com/ZFSmfizMVy
— Jotaku (@jotaku_net) June 23, 2017
It’s also extremely lucrative at a time when Starbucks is facing challenges from both hipster coffee chains and the likes of McDonalds and Dunkin’ Donuts in its home market. According to a 2016 analysis by the Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, a Japanese financial journal, Starbucks controls just over 40% of Japan’s coffeeshop market.
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