This Starbucks in a registered tangible cultural property is one of the country’s extra-special branches.

Starbucks has a knack for popping up in some of the world’s most stunning locations, and in Japan, 28 of them are so special they’ve been designated “Regional Landmark Stores“.

What makes these locations so unique is the fact that they’ve been architecturally designed in important sites that are symbolic of the region. Some sit in beautiful parks and grounds, often constructed with local materials, and others are built into registered tangible cultural properties, to help preserve and share the local culture to the world.

The branches in historic properties are usually the most breathtaking, as they bring old buildings to life in a new way, whisking us back in time with modern conveniences that make us want to sit and soak up the historic surroundings. One such Starbucks is the Kobe Kitano Ijinkan branch, located in the Kitano Ijinkan-gai area, a popular tourist destination in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture.

This area is famous for being one of the first neighbourhoods to welcome foreign residents after the signing of the Ansei Treaties in 1858, which led to the five ports of Kanagawa, Nagasaki, Hakodate, Niigata and Hyogo being opened to foreign trade with Great Britain, Russia, the United States, Netherlands and France.

As a result, foreigners were able to rent houses and lease land in the Kitano Ijinkan-gai area, and today some of those western-style homes remain, including the one that is now a Starbucks. Built in 1907 and originally owned by an American, the building was damaged by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995, but was rebuilt and relocated to its current location in 2001 by the City of Kobe.

▼ Starbucks gives this building a new lease on life.

The two-storey Starbucks is now a tourist destination in its own right, with its Western-style architecture making customers feel as if they’ve travelled to another country.

After ordering at the cash registers next to the fireplace on the ground floor, customers can choose to sit in a variety of rooms, with many proceeding up the wooden staircase to the next level, where you’ll find a sign to the “Dining Room”.

This brightly lit room has wooden floors and panelling, chandelier lighting and a huge array of framed pictures on the walls.

While the beautifully preserved interior looks markedly different from an ordinary Starbucks, fans will be pleased to know that the menu remains the same, so you can enjoy your favourite beverage and any limited-edition Frappuccinos, just as you would at a regular store.

As one of the most unusual Starbucks locations in the country, it can get busy here, but whenever we’ve visited the turnover rate has been surprisingly fast so you shouldn’t have to wait long for a seat.

And if you’d like to explore another Regional Landmark store in Japan, this unique Starbucks in Kyoto will take your breath away with its traditional beauty.

Cafe Information

Starbucks Kobe Kitano Ijinkan store / スターバックス 神戸北野異人館店
Address: Hyogo-ken, Kobe-shi, Chuo-ku, Kitanocho 3-1-31 Kitano Monogatarikan
兵庫県神戸市中央区北野町3-1-31 北野物語館
Open: 8:00 a.m.-10:00  p.m.
Irregular holidays

Related: Regional Landmark Stores
Photos © SoraNews24
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