The coffeehouse carries on Japanese traditions in Uji, the country’s most famous tea-growing town.

With so many sites of historical significance in Kyoto, it can be tempting to try to stuff as many into your sightseeing itinerary as possible. But many would argue that to truly experience the allure of Japan’s ancient capital, the best thing to do is slow down. Find a beautiful garden, take a seat next to it, and spend a few moments, or many even, contemplating its beauty and design, perhaps while sipping a soothing beverage.

We recently found a lovely little garden in Kyoto’s Uji, and although it’s less than a minute’s walk from Byodoin Temple (famously depicted on the back of the 10-yen coin), this dry landscape isn’t on the grounds of a Buddhist or Shinto enclave. And while Uji is renowned for its production of matcha, the garden’s proprietors will just as happily serve you a cup of coffee as one of tea, since its part of the local Starbucks.

This branch of the coffeehouse is located along Byodoin’s sando, the promenade that leads into a temple or shrine. For centuries, sando across Japan have been lined with shops and vendors selling refreshments to footsore or thirsty travelers, a tradition that Starbucks is happy to carry on.

In order to blend in with the preexisting surroundings, Starbucks’ building makes use of a wooden exterior, and while the chain is popular enough to fill up locations with multiple floors of seats, this branch has just one story, so as not to stick out and overwhelm the scenery.

Large glass windows mean that even if you’re seated inside, you’ll have a view of the garden. We say the best thing to do, though, is to take you drink outside and sit along the nokoshita, an aspect of traditional Japanese architecture Starbucks incorporated into the design with an outdoor seating area beneath the outstretched eaves of the roof.

When we visited, the garden’s plum blossoms, a winter favorite of flower lovers in Japan, were starting to open, but this is someplace we could see ourselves happily spending time during any season of the year.

Cafe information
Starbucks Coffee (Kyoto Uji Byodoin Sando Branch) / スターバックス コーヒー(京都宇治平等院表参道店)
Address: Kyoto-fu, Uji-shi, Ujirenge 21-18
Open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where the vast majority of the things he drinks at Starbucks are green tea-based.

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