Top 12 Unique Starbucks in Japan | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Top 12 Unique Starbucks in Japan

By Tony Tao Aug 12, 2020

This post is also available in: Vietnamese

Starbucks – a worldwide coffee brand, was first founded in Seattle, USA in 1971. As of 2020, Starbucks have expanded to more than 80 countries with more than 30,000 stores. Starbucks has an easy-to-recognize logo. Even though in 2011, the company decided to remove the wording on the logo, it is not difficult for people to recognize the brand straight-away. Which is a feat not all companies can boast.

Did you know the first Starbucks store opened outside of America was in Japan? This store was opened in Ginza, Tokyo (August,1996) and since then, due to the rapid expansion throughout the country, the number of stores has reached more than 1,581.

One of the most effective strategies that has helped Starbucks to become such a well-known brand nowadays, is the localization of the stores while still ensuring they meet Starbucks’ standard quality.  Thanks to this strategy as well as the unique culture, Starbucks Japan has many special features that make Starbucks in this country the most outstanding Starbucks in the world.

1. Starbucks Kitano Ijinkan, Kobe – western architecture

Unlike other buildings in the vicinity, the exterior of Kobe Kitano Ijinkan Starbucks has a Western-style. It sticks true to the white and green color scheme of the brand ‘s roots.

Inside is a cozy space with antique items such as a typewriter, chandelier, and a feature wall painted with sepia photographs of coffee. On the wall is a poster of the world map that will spark wanderlust, flanked by a pair of book towers.

Address: Kitano Monogatarikan, 3-1-31 Kitano-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0002
Opening hours: Daily, 8AM-10PM
Telephone: +81 078-230-6302

2. Starbucks Hakodate Bayside, Hokkaido – a brick house with fireplace

Skiing and relaxing in the hot spring on the mountainside is a must-do experience while you’re in Hokkaido but visiting the Starbucks outlet at Hakodate Bayside should also be on your to-do list. In actuality, the brick red wooden panels and glass windows are a nod to the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse district where it stands.

The indoor stairwells are plastered with black and white photos, creating a rustic vibe to the place. Venture out to the outdoor deck to enjoy scenic views of the bay, which makes a pleasant spot to sip on your brew.

They have a wonderfully atmospheric fireplace that is lit up for extra warmth in the colder seasons from autumn to early spring.

Address: Hakodate City, Hokkaido Hakodate West Pier, Suehirocho 040-0053 24-6
Opening hours: Daily, 8AM-11PM
Telephone: 0138-21-4522

3. Starbucks Dogo Onsen Ekisha, Ehime – originally a train station

The Starbucks near Dogo Onsen Ekisha originally stood as a train station and has a townhouse-like exterior. Both the western influences and the railway theme are present in the cafe’s interior, where tables and chairs are upcycled from old rails and wood.

The cafe, as well as leafy wallpaper, is decorated with muted green and brown tones to match its exterior. At the long central table, you can either go for the lighter window seats or the cushioned stools. There is an old train outside the shop.

Address: Dojocho 1-10-12, Ehime Prefecture Matsuyama 790-0843
Opening hours: Daily, 8AM-9PM
Telephone: 089-915-8155

4. Starbucks Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya, Kyoto – tatami floor seating

It may be a little challenging to find the Starbucks at Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya, Kyoto because it is located in a historic wooden building that looks very similar to the other shophouses along this beautiful old quarter street. But, as you can see, the elegant design makes it one of the most unique Starbucks in the world!.

You may be surprised to find that inside there are no chairs and instead, tatami mats and cushions line the floors for you to sit on. There are plenty of kimono rental stores along this street, so dress up and have a mini photoshoot inside..

Address: 349 Banchi, Masuya-cho, Shimogawara Higashi-iru, Kodaiji Minamimon-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Opening hours: Daily, 8AM-8PM
Telephone: +81 75-532-0601

5. Starbucks Dazaifu Tenmangu Omotesando, Fukuoka – quirky wooden lattices

Starbucks at Dazaifu Tenmangu Omotesando is just as much a piece of art as a cafe shop, with over 2,000 wooden bars interlaced to decorate the exterior. You can also find this latticed wood decoration in the cafe. Large floor-to-ceiling windows make the place appear even wider than it is while brightening up the area with natural light. The wooden bars definitely makes this shop so unique among any other Starbucks cafes.

Address: Dazaifu-shi, 3-2-43 Saifu, Fukuoka prefecture 818-0117
Opening hours: Daily, 7AM-9PM
Telephone: +81 092-919-5690

6. Starbucks Hirosaki Park, Aomori – cozy cottage from the 1950s

If not for the unmistakable green mermaid Starbucks sign hanging from a lamppost, you might not know that this is a Starbucks. It is the Starbucks at Hirosaki Park, Aomori, situated in a European-style cottage. It’s as if this cafe is straight out of our childhood storybooks.

Address: 1-1 Kamishiroganecho, Hirosaki, Aomori prefecture 036-8207
Opening hours: Daily, 7AM-9PM
Telephone: 0172-39-4051

7. Starbucks Ueno Park, Tokyo – little hut amidst cherry blossoms

Ueno Park is a must-visit spot when it’s in Tokyo during the cherry blossom season. Besides the beautiful blooms, shrines, and zoo, there’s also a Starbucks, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee while chilling under the pink, heavenly scene.

Address: Taito City, 8-22 Uenokoen, Tokyo 110-0007
Opening hours: Daily, 8AM-9PM
Telephone: +81 03-5834-1630

8. Starbucks Sanjo Ohashi, Kyoto – outdoor deck overlooking Kamogawa River

Starbucks in Sanjo Ohashi is a spectacular brick building located right beside the Kamogawa River.  You can quickly head into the shop for a nice Cappucino when you’re done posing for photographs on the river-side waterways.

There are plenty of tables and benches, and window seats that provide view of the river, making it pleasant place for people to visit. 

Address: 113 Nakajimacho, Sanjo-Kawaramachi-Higashiiru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto prefecture 604-8004
Opening hours: Daily, 8AM-11PM
Telephone: 075-213-2326

9. Starbucks Kanetsuki Dori, Kawagoe – with its own Japanese garden

The branch of Kanetsuki Dori Starbucks is designed to look like a traditional Japanese house with wooden exteriors to sliding fusuma doors.

Get cozy inside the compound in the mini Japanese garden, on the seats with cushions made from kimono material.

Address: 15-18 Saiwaicho, Kawagoe, Saitama prefecture 350-0063
Opening hours: Daily, 8AM-10PM
Telephone: 049-228-5600

10. Starbucks Kamakura Onarimachi, Kanagawa – pet-friendly veranda with pool

The Starbucks at Kamakura Onarimachi, Kanagawa stands out with sleek black exteriors. This cafe used to be the residence of manga artist Ruichi Yokoyama, and you’ll find some of his artwork displayed here.

Chill out at the veranda outside that looks out into a serene pool beneath a show hanging wisteria flowers. Even though you’re not allowed to swim there, the open air is pet friendly, then you’ll have an opportunity to meet some adorable fur-friends instead.

Address: 15-11 Onarimachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture 248-0012
Opening hours: Daily, 8AM-9PM
Telephone: 0467-61-2161

11. Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Meguro, Tokyo – The world’s largest Starbucks with cocktail bar

The architectural design of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Meguro is a treat for the eyes.  This Starbucks store is the largest in the world with its polished brass fixtures, high ceilings, and open-concept barista stations.

Each floor in this roastery has its own specialty, with a coffee roasting machine housing the highest floor, and a cocktail bar on the third floor. 

Unless you’re more of a Teavana person, the second floor is our recommendation. You can pair all your drinks with pastries such as cronuts and pizza from the Milanese Bakery Princi. They also open the alfresco balcony during the warm months, where you can enjoy a pleasant view of the Meguro River.

Address: 2-19-23 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-0042
Opening hours: Daily, 7AM-11PM
Telephone: +81-3-6417-0202

12. Starbucks Tokyu Plaza, Harajuku, Tokyo – rooftop garden setting with lanterns

The rooftop garden on Tokyu Plaza is where you can enjoy busy Harajuku views from. Strung up lanterns add a festive atmosphere to the place where the ambiance is merrier, especially when illuminated at night.

Address: Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku, 4-30-3 Jingumae, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
Opening hours: Daily, 8.30AM-11PM
Telephone: 03-5414-5851