Starbucks goes local...

Good morning everyone,

Today's weather...uhhh...it's going to be stinking hot! They're calling for a high of 35C and with the humidity, it'll feel like 45C...yeah...it might be a good day to take a break from running...ha ha! Today is looking like the hottest day this week, but it won't cool down much at all over the next week or so. The coolest day is looking like it'll be around 32C. I might need to rethink the plan for what I was going to wear on the airplane...

I saw this collection of cool Starbucks in Japan and thought I'd include it in my blog. While I haven't been to Starbucks in ages-mainly because the one closest to my school always has a huge line-I'd definitely like to try these five out! The huge American coffee conglomerate has outdone itself by trying to make its shops blend in in these tourist areas. I wonder if we'll ever see one in Miyajima...

1. Dazaifu Tenmangu Omotesando

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Fukuoka Prefecture’s Daizaifu Tenmangu shrine is dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, a famed poet, scholar, and statesmen born in the 9th century. Upon Michizane’s death in 903, his body was placed into an ox-drawn cart for a funeral procession. After pulling the cart for some time, the animal refused to go any farther, and the shrine was built on that spot.

If your legs are so tired that you feel the same as that ox, Dazaifu’s Starbucks is a good place for a break. Designed by respected architect Kengo Kuma, the structure makes use of some 2,000 logs, which laid end-to-end would stretch 4.4 kilometers.

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The interior is no less dramatic, with the natural materials of the wooden framework making for an effect both dynamic and soothing.

2. Kamakura Onaricho

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Manga artist Ryuichi Yokoyama may not be particularly well known outside of Japan, but his Fuku-chan series was successful enough in Japan that he was able to purchase a luxurious home in the historical town of Kamakura. Yokoyama passed away in 2001, and the plot of land his house was built on is now home to a Starbucks.

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Inside, you’ll find samples of Yokoyama’s artwork gracing the walls. The bigger attraction, though, is the terrace beside the artist’s pool. With both chairs and Japanese-style cushions to sit on, the garden is particularly beautiful when the wisteria or cherry blossoms are blooming, as well as when their falling petals are floating on the water’s surface.

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3. Izumo Taisha

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The Izumo Taisha shrine is one of the most important places of Shinto worship. The nearby Starbucks draws inspiration from the religion’s imagery with a table shaped like magatama, Shinto’s curved ceremonial beads.

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The interior is designed using locally sourced timber, including Shimane black pine and cedar, which is the same timber that is used to build the shrine.

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4. Kobe Kitano Ijinkan

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Kobe was one of the first cities to see a large influx of foreign residents after Japan ended its centuries-long period of isolation in the 1800s. As such, it was also one of the first places in Japan where western-style houses and other structures went up, particularly in the Kitanocho district.

Today, many of these old residences are preserved as museums, but one has been converted into a Starbucks. I think if I were at this Starbucks, I'd be shocked when I walked outside and realized that I was still in Japan...

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While it’s been retrofitted for amenities such as modern electrical wiring, the exterior of the house is largely as it was when it was built in 1907. The interior is a mix of classically-styled and authentically antique furnishings, with seven rooms for patrons to sit in including a lounge, study, and dining room.

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5. Kyoto Sanjo Ohashi

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Kyoto sits in a basin, which means that in the summer it gets extremely hot and humid even by Japanese standards. To make things a little more bearable, for the last 400 years dining establishments in Kyoto have been building wooden platforms called noryoyuka out over the city’s waterways, providing a cooling breeze from below for sweltering customers.

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Following suit, the Starbucks located in Kawaramachi, Kyoto’s central entertainment district, has its own noryoyuka above the Kamogawa River.

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The Kawaramachi Starbucks’ noryoyuka is so popular that it’s open from February to August. Granted, at the start of that period things are going to be pretty chilly outside, but with a warm drink and a good jacket, we could put up with it for such a great and unique view of one of the most beautiful cities in Japan.

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And there you have it...the five most spectacular Starbucks in Japan. I think we're due for one of those here in Hiroshima, how about you?

Has anybody been to any of these? Are they as nice in real life as they look in photos?

Which one looks the most tempting for you? I don't know about you, but I'd like to try them all! 

Have a great day!

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