Shibuya Scramble Starbucks is closed, and it’s all because of online video streaming.

There are a lot of Starbucks branches in Tokyo, but arguably none is more famous than the Shibuya one. Technically, there are multiple Starbucks in the Shibuya neighborhood, but say “the Shibuya Starbucks” to just about any Tokyoite, and they’ll immediately think of the one in the QFront building, right across the world-famous Shibuya Scramble intersection from Shibuya Station.

The QFront Starbucks has been a Shibuya landmark for decades, and a lot of people prefer using it as a meeting place over the statue of loyal dog Hachiko. Meeting at Starbucks lets you avoid the photo-snapping tourists posing for pictures with the statue of the faithful pooch, and it also puts you on the side of the street with better access to the shops, restaurants, and bars that you’ll be headed to after your friends or date arrives. The QFront Starbucks is also a great place for people-watching. Snag a seat in front of one of the second-floor floor-to-ceiling windows and you’ve got a fantastic view of one of the most bustling spots in all of Japan.

You might also remember the Shibuya Starbucks from when Mr. Sato went there with his gigantic 20-pound Starbucks mug, which then led to the Japanese Starbucks Mug Man meme.

Those memories were going through Mr. Sato’s head when he was in Shibuya recently, and so he figured he’d stop in the QFront Starbucks and get a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, when he got to the Scramble crossing…

…the Starbucks sign was nowhere to be found, and all of the windows on the second floor had been papered over.

It was a similar situation on the first floor of the building, with a message from video rental company Tsutaya that started with “Make the world out of things you love.”

That’s when Mr. Sato remembered that Tsutaya had announced it would be shutting down its QFront branch on October 31. Like the Shibuya Starbucks, this Tsutaya was a local landmark for many years, but with demand for physical media rentals evaporating as streaming services become the market’s preferred way to consume content, Tsutaya has fallen on hard times.

The Shibuya Tsutaya took up several floors of the building, and apparently its closure and the ensuing dismantling/renovation work means that the Starbucks has to cease operations too. Not only is the coffeehouse’s eat/drink-in section entirely shut down, it’s exterior take-out counter is also.

▼ Before this, Mr. Sato had never seen the counter closed during the day.

Tsutaya says it’ll be reopening its Shibuya branch in the spring, but it’s still uncertain what form it’ll take, or whether the Starbucks will be returning with it. Looking at Starbucks Japan’s website, it lists the QFront branches status as kyugyochu (休業中), or “business currently suspended,” but with no mention of when, or if, they plan to reopen.

Given Starbucks’ popularity in Japan and the immense amount of foot traffic that goes across the Scramble intersection, it’s hard to imagine that they won’t be looking to opening a new branch within the renovated GFront building, or a new branch somewhere close by. Still, as of now their iconic Shibuya location is closed, so you’ll need to look elsewhere for a place to admire the Shibuya scenery as you sip a drink.

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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he can’t help noticing the ND Miata driving by the Shibuya Starbucks.

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