Traditional Tatami-Style Starbucks Branch in Kyoto Wins Scenery Award

24.November.2018 | FOOD / SPOT

The Kyoto Keikan Shou, or Kyoto Scenery Award, gives praise and acknowledgement to creative originality in places where the lineage of traditional culture has been fused with the contemporary, creating a harmonious scenic balance. One category in the awards is ‘Outdoor Advertising,’ and this year, Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya has taken the prize home. It was honoured for its signboard that projects on the side of the building, hanging lanterns, sheet copper doorplate and other elements which hold both stark originality while showing consideration for the traditional locale.


This branch of Starbucks opened back in June 2017 in Ninenzaka, a street in Kyoto’s Higashiyama ward. The building, owned by the taxi and limousine service YASAKA GROUP, is a renovated two-storey traditional Japanese house with a history spanning over 100 years. Both the main building and fencing are preserved as ‘Traditional Architecture’ under the Sanneizaka Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings. Starbucks have shown respect for the history of the building and its local area while fusing it with modern coffee culture.

The exterior of the building lines up with all the other building along the road with its wooden signs displayed outside. The hanging lanterns features the ubiquitous Starbucks siren logo which was created back in 1971 when the coffee chain first launched. The sheet copper doorplate also exhibits the logo, and this branch boasts the world’s first Starbucks noren, or entry curtain, at the entrance. Upon entering, customers are greeted by the baristas at the counter which is decorated with paper lanterns like that of those during Hanatouro, a lantern festival in Higashiyama, Kyoto. The second floor also has a traditional tatami seating area where you must take off your shoes, offering a very different Starbucks experience that offers the same product but stays faithful to Japanese tradition.


If you’re in Kyoto and fancy a Starbucks but still want to stay immersed in Japanese culture then look no further than this branch in Ninenzaka.