In their eternal quest for global coffee market domination, on June 30, 2017, Starbucks opened its doors to caffeine addicts in the former Japanese imperial capital of Kyoto on Ninenzaka street in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district. Ninenzaka street ascends up a long slope to Kiyiomizudera Temple (a UNESCO historical site), passing by a number of other temples through cobblestone roads. However, this new ancient location is unlike the rest…it has historical pedigree…and lets just say you won’t see any “no shoes, no service” signages to say the least.
The 100 year old building does not bear the common signature Starbucks markings and unique character. Instead, in an effort to assimilate into the local culture the Seattle-based coffee brand has stuck to Japanese tradition. The entrance to the cafe is cloaked by a deep green traditional Japanese entry banner, which bears the stylized Starbucks mermaid logo. Upon exploring the property further customers will find a reed flooring seating area with floor cushions, a Japanese garden, as well as bathrooms with stone water basins.
Starbucks has made an impact in the Japanese market as of late, with 1,100 coffee shops throughout the country. With heavy competition throughout other international markets launched by hipster coffee chains and giants such as McDonalds, Japan has proven to be a very profitable venture. Starbucks now controls just over 40 percent of Japan’s coffee shop market.