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First Starbucks with Tatami?! We Take You Inside Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya

First Starbucks with Tatami?! We Take You Inside Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya

Date published: 30 April 2020
Last updated: 3 February 2021

Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya is one of 27 Starbucks Regional Landmark Stores, which convey the beauties of regional history, traditional crafts, and culture.

Blending so well into this neighborhood of beautiful streets that passersby often fail to notice it, this Kyoto Starbucks is situated in a traditional Japanese house fronting the Ninenzaka pathway leading to Kiyomizu-dera Temple, a popular sightseeing spot and world heritage site.

Table of Contents
  1. Pass under the traditional noren shop curtain at Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya
  2. Kyoto shops are traditionally long and narrow - the shop preserves that design!
  3. Slip off your shoes and enjoy a coffee break while relaxing on tatami!
  4. Be sure to observe the shop's special rules!
  5. Limited edition charms made by artisans make fun souvenirs

Pass under the traditional noren shop curtain at Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya

Pass under the traditional noren shop curtain at Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya

Ninenzaka, where the shop is located, carefully preserves the atmosphere of the Taisho era (1912-1926), reflecting the history and culture of that period. This is an area very popular with tourists because it is home to many famous attractions such as Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kodai-ji Temple, Yasaka Pagoda (Hokan-ji Temple), and Yasaka Koshin-do Temple.

Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya is the only Japanese-style house in Ninenzaka that has a large wall from the Taisho era. The shop skillfully blends the traditional with the Starbucks style and the modest signboard at the entrance does not detract from these aesthetics. This is the only Starbucks in the world with a noren shop curtain.

Some pass by the modest entrance without realizing it, so when looking for the shop be sure to look up for its signboard. The large signboard located on the second story is easy to spot.

Passing under the noren you will see a tsukubai (stone basin) in the front garden. Tiles are arranged in a pattern of fish scales like those in the Starbucks logo.

Kyoto shops are traditionally long and narrow - the shop preserves that design!

Kyoto shops are traditionally long and narrow - the shop preserves that design!

After completing your order at the counter that glows with the soft light of a paper lantern, you next go down the long corridor to the bar counter. This corridor replicates the atmosphere of a "passage garden" often seen in traditional Kyoto houses. Walking down the corridor dimly lit with downlights you arrive at the inner garden bathed in sunlight.

There you will find the bar counter. While waiting for your drink you can admire the beautiful moss garden beyond the glass windows. The interior design of this store is a skillful fusion of that which is old and good, such as the traditional architecture with its fittings, beams, and pillars, with modern innovations.

There is a brush painting of the logo on the wall in front of the bar counter. It is a popular spot for taking photos.

Slip off your shoes and enjoy a coffee break while relaxing on tatami!

Slip off your shoes and enjoy a coffee break while relaxing on tatami!
Raised tatami-floored seating area

On the second floor of the shop there are 3 rooms with tables and sofas, each presenting a part of the story of coffee, and when entering these rooms, too, you must take off your shoes. The raised tatami-floored seating area is arranged in the most modern way. It is fitted with Ryukyu tatami mats and zabuton cushions made with Kyotango woven fabric.

Four-and-a-half-mat size room

This four-and-a-half-mat room is designed based on the original. This minimalist room is decorated with a hanging scroll and flower arrangement.

Inner room

The inner room is most classic in its design. In the alcoves of all the rooms on the third floor are hanging scrolls depicting the story of coffee beans from the time they sprout, are roasted, and then brewed. The scroll mountings have been delicately produced by Kyoto artisens, so be sure to admire them when you visit.

Matcha Cream Frappuccino® 490 yen (less tax)

Table seating at the rear of the second floor. We recommend sitting here as it affords an excellent view of people going and coming along Ninenzaka and the rooftops of the houses.

Be sure to observe the shop's special rules!

Be sure to observe the shop's special rules!

The stairways and passages in traditional Japanese houses are very narrow making it difficult for people carrying coffee to pass one another. For that reason, the shop requires that these be used in only one direction from the time you enter until you leave the shop.

Also, you are not permitted to wear shoes on the second floor. Take off your shoes and store them on this shelf before entering the tatami mat rooms.

The most important thing to remember is that lining up in front of the shop is prohibited for the sake of safety and not making an eyesore. There is space where you can wait in front of the order counter so please line up there. Try to avoid visiting the shop at times when it is crowded. As most of the customers are tourists, the turnover is rather fast. Also keep in mind that when there is no seating available entrance is restricted.

Limited edition charms made by artisans make fun souvenirs

Limited edition charms made by artisans make fun souvenirs

To commemorate your visit, we recommend a JIMOTO made Series HIGASHIYAMA “Lucky Charm”. These charms are made in collaboration with the Shimada Koen Ningyo Studio, a manufacturer of dolls established in 1859, located across the street from the shop and these charms are sold in only three shops in Kyoto and Higashiyama.

Shown in the photo from the left are Komainu Dorei (lion-dog clay bell), black Maneki Neko Dorei (beckoning cat clay bell), and Haiko (crawling baby), all of which are only sold at the Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya shop.

On each there is something in the same green color as the Starbucks apron.

Good-luck charms 2,300 yen (less tax) each

There are also Fukudama (fortune balls) containing store products. You can only buy one of each, so try your luck at it.

Only at Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya in Japan can you enjoy Starbucks coffee in a traditional Sukiya-style tea house more than 100 years old. Here you can also savor the history and traditions of Kyoto while enjoying a nice cup of coffee.

Text by:word

  • Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya
    スターバックス コーヒー 京都二寧坂ヤサカ茶屋店
    • Address 349, Masuyacho Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 605-0826
    • Phone Number 075-532-0601
    • Hours: 8:00 a.m. ~ 8:00 p.m.
      Closed: unscheduled

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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