This particular Starbucks, housed within a registered tangible cultural property, stands out as one of the nation’s most exceptional branches.
Starbucks has a reputation for establishing itself in some of the globe’s most breathtaking settings, and in Japan, 28 of these locations have earned the prestigious title of “Regional Landmark Stores.”
What sets these outlets apart is their architectural design, carefully integrated into significant sites that hold symbolic importance for their respective regions. Some are nestled within picturesque parks and landscapes, crafted using locally-sourced materials, while others are housed within registered tangible cultural properties, serving to conserve and showcase the region’s unique culture to the wider world.
The Starbucks outlets situated within historic properties often offer a truly breathtaking experience, breathing new life into old buildings while transporting visitors back in time, all while enjoying modern comforts. Among these is the Kobe Kitano Ijinkan branch, nestled in the Kitano Ijinkan-gai area, a renowned tourist spot in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture.
This area holds significance for being one of the earliest neighborhoods to welcome foreign residents following the signing of the Ansei Treaties in 1858. These treaties facilitated foreign trade with Great Britain, Russia, the United States, Netherlands, and France, opening up ports including Kanagawa, Nagasaki, Hakodate, Niigata, and Hyogo.
Thanks to these treaties, foreigners gained the ability to rent homes and lease land in the Kitano Ijinkan-gai area. Today, some of those charming Western-style residences still stand, one of which houses the Starbucks. Constructed in 1907 and originally owned by an American, the building endured damage during the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995. However, it was painstakingly reconstructed and relocated to its present site in 2001 by the City of Kobe.
Now, this two-story Starbucks serves as a destination for tourists, captivating visitors with its Western-style architecture, evoking a sensation of traveling to another country.
Upon placing their orders at the cash registers adjacent to the fireplace on the ground floor, patrons have the option to select from various seating areas. Many opt to ascend the wooden staircase to the upper level, where they’re greeted by a sign leading to the “Dining Room.”
This well-lit space boasts wooden flooring and paneling, elegant chandelier fixtures, and an extensive collection of framed artwork adorning the walls.
Although the exquisitely preserved interior diverges significantly from that of a typical Starbucks, enthusiasts will be delighted to discover that the menu remains unchanged. This means you can savor your preferred beverage and indulge in any limited-edition Frappuccinos, just as you would at any other Starbucks outlet.
As one of the most distinctive Starbucks establishments in the nation, this location can experience high foot traffic. However, during our visits, we’ve observed a remarkably swift turnover rate, so you shouldn’t have to wait long to secure a seat.
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