What is Ninenzaka, Kyoto?

Ninenzaka is a famous sightseeing spot in Kyoto. 

This hilly cobblestoned street leads to Yasaka Jinja Shrine and the World Heritage Site of Kiyomizu-dera Temple, and has many souvenir stores and tea shops on both sides. Just walking down the street lined with machiya (traditional Kyoto buildings) built in the Taisho-era tea ceremony arbor-style of architecture will make you feel as though you’ve slipped back in time.


The Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya branch is housed in a traditional 2-floor machiya that was built over 100 years ago.

As opposed to normal machiya, which directly faces the street, this particular building was built with a style called “daibeizukuri” and has a wall that separates the building and the street. This is the only building along Ninenzaka that retains the wall as-is from when it was built, so it’s an important historical building that is being preserved properly.

They chose the color of the Starbucks’ noren curtains over the entrance to be indigo, a traditional Japanese color, to match the facade of this historical building to create an appearance that fits in well with the neighbourhood.

When you pass through the noren, you’ll find a hallway that is directly connected to the espresso bar counter that opens up in the inner garden. Sunlight comes in to the store through the bar counter and inner garden, and passing through the hallway to reach that sunlight might make you feel like you're back in Japan 100 years ago.

 The indirect lighting here and there creates an elegant atmosphere.

On the second floor are 3 spaces with tatami flooring where you take off your shoes and relax.

The cushions available to sit on are made from Kyoto’s Tango chirimen fabric. This is the only Starbucks in the world where you can relax on a cushion on tatami to enjoy your coffee.

This can be called the perfect fusion of Kyoto culture and Starbucks’ coffee culture.

Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya branch is almost certainly going to become a famous landmark in Kyoto. Why not stop by when you visit Kyoto? If you do go, please let me what you think and whether it's worth visiting or not... 

Here's the name and address if you're seriously thinking about going...

Branch name: Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya Branch

Address: 349 Banchi, Masuya-cho, Shimogawara Higashi-iru, Kodaiji Minamimon-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

Opening Day: Friday, June 30, 2017

Business hours: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Capacity: 51 seats

It's worth noting that you are not allowed to line up in front of this Starbucks, because they don't want to detract from the calm, peaceful neighbourhood-if it's full, you'll have to come back later.

Have a great day!