In Kyoto, Japan, on a street lined with temples and shrines, Starbucks is gearing up to open their newest location in what was once a traditional teahouse. Starbucks’ new store is located in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district, one of the best-preserved historic districts in the city, which includes the Kiyomizudera Temple, a popular tourist attraction. Kyoto’s new Starbucks will be in an Edo-style building, which housed a teahouse until 2005, when it went out of business. Starbucks recently did a full renovation of the century-old teahouse, keeping in mind the building’s historical heritage and architectural traditions. It will open to the public on June 30.
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Instead of the typical bright, glowing white and green sign, patrons will pass through traditional dark green noren fabric panels, printed with a black version of the Starbucks logo. The window-filled bottom floor looks out onto surrounding gardens, and will contain the coffee bar. The 51-person, three-room seating area is up the stairs, with tatami reed floors and seat cushions made from a traditional Kyoto crepe fabric. Honoring Japanese tradition, patrons will be asked to remove their shoes before entering the seating area. Despite Starbucks’ adherence to historical Japanese culture, the store will still serve their typical coffee menu. But you can always go for a matcha, too.
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Since opening their first shop in Japan in 1996, Starbucks has frequently incorporated Japanese tradition in their store designs there. In their other Kyoto location Starbucks adopted an architectural feature called noryoyuka, or cooling floor, which is a sort of wooden patio built out over a river where you can catch a breeze during the hot Kyoto summer.