Whether if you’re a regular visitor to Japan or if it’s your first time there, the following scenario might sound familiar to you – being tired from hours of walking from place to place, feeling thirsty from trekking long distances and just wanting to sit down to rest and recharge.
Yet, choices can be surprisingly limited at times; restaurants in a glitzy mall are expensive and roadside stalls are made for quick, eat-and-go experiences with little time for relaxation.
What’s a tired traveller to do?
What if I told you that there is a location that is easy to find, great to relax in, and offers lots of interesting little perks that are unique just to Japan? That place is none other than Starbucks!
Photo source: Starbucks Japan
As mentioned in the previous instalment on Lotteria Burger, Japan often presents a common entity or franchise in a way that’s fresh and managing to surprise even the most frequent of customers.
Established in Japan in 1995, Starbucks has long become a regular part of its modern society, adapting to the various cultural quirks.
While the menu comprises of many usual items that you’ve grown accustomed to such as your mochas and frappes, Starbucks Japan also has a fair share of seasonal items that you won’t find anywhere else.
The Almond Milk Frappuccino with Honey Crunch and Almond Milk Latte with Honey Crunch (Photo source: Starbucks Japan)
The Fruits-on-top Frappuccino with crushed nuts (Photo source: Starbucks Japan)
Caramel Sakura Chocolate Frappuccino and Caramel Sakura Chocolate Latte (Photo source: Starbucks Japan)
Starbucks Japan also has a ton of great limited edition merchandise.
Photo source: Starbucks Japan
Their tumblers are especially popular, featuring an ever-rotating array of cool designs that have attracted the interest of many collectors.
Not only are they a neat way to drink your coffee, the tumblers also play a part in Japan’s recycling efforts, being reusable and helping to cut down on the amount of disposable cups needed. You get a discount on your beverage for bringing your own tumbler too!
But perhaps what I like the most about the various outlets in Japan are the differing atmospheres that they convey with their interior settings.
Starbucks has a knack for making their cafes take full advantage of their surroundings, and that is definitely the case here in Japan.
Even the service, while maintaining the franchise’s usual high standards, has an undeniably ‘Japanese’ quality to it.
Staff members greet you in an ever-‘genki’ (lively) manner, complete with bows and greetings that are guaranteed to brighten your day.
Even though many of them might not completely understand English, they always try their best to engage every customer in some way whether if it’s friendly banter, giving recommendations, or even just a smile.
I often find myself checking out every new Starbucks that I find in Japan just to see what it’s like – and I’m never disappointed!
The next time you find yourself feeling weary from hours of shopping, why not head down to the nearest Starbucks for a cuppa? You might just find something more!