With over 30,000 retail locations all over the world, Starbucks remains as the largest coffee chain to beat. Though most of their branches sport modern designs, they're also known for building one-of-a-kind concept stores every once in a while. Japan, in particular, has over a dozen of such stores scattered all over the country.
That said, we round up eight of their coolest and most unique Starbucks concept shops below.
1. Starbucks Hana Biyori, Tokyo
Starbucks Hana Biyori just recently opened its doors last March 2020. Visitors can sit back and relax while they take their coffee break surrounded by fresh blooms as the branch is built around a greenhouse. Aside from its decor pod flowerbeds and plants hung overhead, the shop is also built with two aqauriums housing over 1200 fish right across counter seats. To top it all off, this tranquil cafe is also reportedyl equipped with 20 projectors and 18 speakers to produce an immersive audio-visual experience.
2. Starbucks Kitano Ijinkan, Kobe
This western-style Starbucks situated in Kobe, Japan is painted with the brand's signature colors. To imitate your usual western diner, the inside is a warmly-lit lounge decorated with mismatched picture frames hung on its walls.
Fun fact: The original building on which this Starbucks stands was severely damaged after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. It was only restored in 2001, and was subsequently transformed into the SB we know now back in 2009.
3. Starbucks Dazaifu, Fukuoka
The architectural masterwork both inside and outside of this Starbucks in Fukuoka is definitely a sight you can't miss. Inspired by Dazaifu Tenmangu’s historical roots, its interior is reportedly flanked by a matrix of 2000 wooden batons to create a diagonally woven lattice.
4. Starbucks Coffee, Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya
First opened in 2017, this Kyoto-based starbucks is built inside a 100-year old traditional townhouse. It's famously known for being the first ever SB branch to offer tatami floor seating. As reminiscent of Japan's traditional structures, a blue noren curtain is hung up on its fenced entryway as a way to preserve the establishment's original feel.
5. Starbucks, Kawagoe
If you ever find yourself visiting the Toki no Kane bell tower in Kawagoe, one way to rest up after is to visit the Starbucks nearby. Built inside a house with features from the Edo era, this particular branch first opened its doors on March 2018. Its interiors are painted with black and white tones to reflect the Edo-style scenery of its neighboring buildings. Outside, visitors can find a relaxing terrace seating where they can enjoy their drinks while surrounded by a Japanese-style garden.
6. Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Meguro
This stunning modern Starbucks branch in Meguro is hailed as the second largest Starbucks Reserve in the world, only beaten out by the Reserve store in Chicago, USA. The store spans 32,000 square feet spread across four floors equipped for varying purposes, from the usual bakery and cafe on the first, a teavana room on the second, and a cocktail bar on the third. Meanwhile, the fourth floor is a lounge and workshop space where customers can drink and rest up all they want.
7. Starbucks Dogo Onsen Ekisha, Ehime
Watch the trains pass by as you drink and dine in Starbucks Dogo Onsen, a two-story structure stituated near the Dogo Onsen train station in Matsuyama. Reminiscent of the architecture from the Meiji-era, the building embraces a fusion of Japanese and Western themes as evidenced by its roof's Victorian-style fencing. As a tribute to its location, the interiors of this Starbucks are railway-themed from the railroad ties making up the first floor counter, to the decor adorning its second floor.
8. Starbucks Kamakura Onarimachi, Kanagawa
Minimalists will get a kick out of this Starbucks' sleek back exterior in Kanagawa. While the outside may look too simple for this list, the establishment's actually built with a tranquil outdoor verandah. Decked with hanging wisteria flowers while overlooking a pool (which visitors sadly can't use) it also happens to be pet-friendly so you can bring your beloved furries along.