I have to say that Starbucks in Japan is slightly different from Starbucks in other countries.Not only the coffee, but something about the atmosphere is different.
I know, I know—industrial capitalist coffee, modern slavery—you got it all right.
BUT!!! in my home country we don’t have Starbucks, so whenever I see one I feel the urge to enter. It gives me the feeling of traveling abroad (ignoring the fact that I have been LIVING abroad for almost three years). It’s all so colorful, bright, with always so many new versions of drinks and cakes (still, I always order the same soy late… if I’m feeling wild, I order the tall size).
It's one of my favorite places in Kyoto
When I’m working and feel like changing the atmosphere, I often find myself in coffee shops. But I usually don’t go to THIS Starbucks to work, since it’s just impossible. The reason it’s impossible is actually the reason I like this place. It has a bookshop called Tsutaya just next to it, filled with art, design, and architecture magazines. Adding the fact that all this abundance is located next to a café makes this Starbucks a great place to pass the time (when I have some).
So what can you find there?
I admit, most of the books are in Japanese; but if you are fond of art, it might just be good enough. There’s also an English section, so don’t be afraid to explore the books over there too.
The pictures, drawings, paintings, and illustrations can be of an interest to anyone and inspire you in whatever you do, whether it’s designing your dream home, (Japanese) garden, fashion, ceramics, or anything else.
I found one very nice ink-painting book I liked, and luckily it was in English. It explains the techniques to paint sumi-e, but of course, still can’t replace a teacher.
The café and the bookstore are located in Okazaki Park (just near Heian Shrine), which holds local markets and events every once in a while on the weekends. Besides Heian Shrine, there are also a few museums for museum-lovers (the museums will be further explored in a future post).
Overall, I know, it’s just another Starbucks in Japan, but I thought that it deserves a post! And if you’re around Heian Shrine anyway and feel like art books & coffee—check it out!
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