Unless you’ve got the deep pockets to take taxis everywhere or the ample patience necessary for a bus tour, sightseeing in Japan means a lot of walking. As exciting and fascinating as the country can be, hour after hour on your feet is enough to leave anyone looking for a place to sit down and have a drink, which is part of the reasons why you can always find a Starbucks near Japan’s major travel destinations.

Still, vacation only lasts so long, and many tourists don’t want to waste their time in a new city sitting in a boring old coffee house that looks just like the one in their hometown. Thankfully, the world’s most popular coffee house has gone all out with the design of these five Japanese Starbucks locations, making them sightseeing attractions in and of themselves.

1. Dazaifu Tenmangu Omotesando / スターバックス コーヒー 太宰府天満宮表参道店
Address: Fukuoka-ken, Dazaifu-shi, Saifu 3-2-43
Open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Fukuoka Prefecture’s Daizaifu Tenmangu shrine is dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, a famed poet, scholar, and statesmen born in the 9th century. Upon Michizane’s death in 903, his body was placed into an ox-drawn cart for a funeral procession. After pulling the cart for some time, the animal refused to go any farther, and the shrine was built on that spot.

If your legs are so tired they’re similarly unwilling to go on, Dazaifu’s Starbucks is a good place for a break. Designed by respected architect Kengo Kuma, the structure makes use of some 2,000 logs, which laid end-to-end would stretch 4.4 kilometers (2.7 miles). The interior is no less dramatic, with the natural materials of the wooden framework making for an effect both dynamic and soothing.


2. Kamakura Onaricho / スターバックス コーヒー鎌倉御成町店
Address: Kanagawa-ken, Kamakura-shi, Onaricho 15-11
Open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Manga artist Ryuichi Yokoyama may not be particularly well known outside of Japan, but his series Fuku-chan was successful enough in Japan that he was able to purchase a luxurious home in the historical town of Kamakura. Yokoyama passed away in 2001, and the plot of land his house was built on is now home to a Starbucks.

Inside, you’ll find samples of Yokoyama’s artwork gracing the walls. The bigger draw, though, is the terrace beside the artist’s pool. With both chairs and Japanese-style cushions to sit on, the garden is particularly beautiful when the wisteria or cherry blossoms are blooming, as well as when their falling petals are floating on the water’s surface.

3. Izumo Taisha / スターバックスコーヒー 出雲大社店
Address: Shimane-ken, Izumo-shi, Taishacho, Kizuki Minami 841
Open 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

The Izumo Taisha shrine is one of the most important places of Shinto worship. The nearby Starbucks draws inspiration from the religion’s imagery with a table shaped like a magatama, Shinto’s curved ceremonial beads. The interior makes extensive use of locally sourced timber, including Shimane black pine and cedar.

4. Kobe Kitano Ijinkan / スターバックス・コーヒー 神戸北野異人館店
Address: Hyogo-ken, Kobe-shi, Chuo-ku, Kitanocho 3-1-31
Open 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Kobe was one of the first cities to see a large influx of foreign residents after Japan ended its centuries-long period of isolation in the 1800s. As such, it was also one of the first places in Japan where western-style houses and other structures went up, particularly in the Kitanocho district.

Today, many of these old residences are preserved as museums, but one has been converted into a Starbucks. Depending on where you hail from, this Kitanocho branch of the coffee house may or may not strike you as exotic, but there’s no arguing that it’s definitely posh.

While it’s been retrofitted for amenities such as modern electrical wiring, the exterior of the house is largely as it was when it was built in 1907. The interior is a mix of classically-styled and authentically antique furnishings, with seven rooms for patrons to sit in including a lounge, study, and dining room.

5. Kyoto Sanjo Ohashi / スターバックス・コーヒー 京都三条大橋店
Address: Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Sanjo-dori, Kawaramachi Higashi Iri Nakajimacho Omiya Building
京都府京都市中京区三条通河原町東入中島町113番 近江屋ビル
Open 8 a.m.-11 p.m.

Kyoto sits in a basin, which means that in the summer it gets extremely hot and humid even by Japanese standards. To make things a little more bearable, for the last 400 years dining establishments in Kyoto have been building wooden platforms called noryoyuka out over the city’s waterways, providing a cooling breeze from below for sweltering customers.

Following suit, the Starbucks located in Kawaramachi, Kyoto’s central entertainment district, has its own noryoyuka above the Kamogawa River. Those same mountains that make the city oppressively hot sure do look pretty viewed from afar when you’re sipping on an iced coffee.

The Kawaramachi Starbucks’ noryoyuka is so popular that it’s open from February to August. Granted, at the start of that period things are going to be pretty chilly outside, but with a warm drink and a good jacket, we could put up with it for such a great and unique view of one of the most beautiful cities in Japan.

Source: Naver Matome