With the earliest varieties of cherry blossoms already starting to bloom around Tokyo, it’s almost time for sakura season to get into full swing! It’s Japan’s most enticing time to get out of the house and enjoy the beauty of nature! There’s just one little problem, though.
So if you’re torn between feeling immersed in Japanese culture and feeling anything in your toes, here are six Starbucks locations where you can relax with a warm cup of coffee while gazing at the cherry blossoms just outside the windows.
1. Ueno Onishi Koen / 上野恩賜公園店
Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Ueno Koen 8-22
東京都 台東区 上野公園8-22
Open 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Starting off with one of Tokyo’s most popular spots for hanami (cherry blossom viewing parties), Starbuck’s has a location inside Ueno Park. While tables indoors will give you a view of the blossoms, there’s also ample seating outside, and on afternoons from March 29 to April 6, employees will even be working coffee carts in front of the building to help process to-go orders as quickly as possible.
2. Kagurazakashita / 神楽坂下店
Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Kagurazaka 1-9-2, Hedenaga Building
東京都 新宿区 神楽坂1-9-2 秀永ビル
Open 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Long a center for intellectuals and expats, Starbuck’s Kagurazaka branch is located close to the major rail hub of Iidabashi Station. Grab a seat, enjoy the view of the cherry tree-lined Kandagawa River, and relax with the knowledge that this branch stays open extra late.
3. Kamakura Onaricho /鎌倉御成町店
Kanagawa-ken, Kamakura-shi, Onaricho 15-11
Open 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Heading south from Tokyo into Kanagawa Prefecture, you’ll come to the city of Kamakura, which served as the capital of Japan from 1192 to 1333. While the Onaricho branch of Starbucks hasn’t been around nearly that long, it does have a more recent historical connection, as the coffee house stands on the site of the former home of comic artist Ryuichi Yokoyama, best known for his title Fuku-chan which saw an animated adaptation in the early 1980s.
Aside from displaying Yokoyama’s artwork in the shop’s interior, the late artist’s garden’s pool, wisteria, and cherry tree have been left as they were when his house still occupied the lot. The sakura here bloom from mid-April to early May, and are especially beautiful when their falling petals create a carpet on the surface of the pool’s water.
4. Kyoto Karasuma Rokkaku / 京都烏丸六角店
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Rokkaku-dori, Higashitoin Nishiiri Donomaecho 254
Open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. weekends and holidays
Going from one former capital of Japan to another, this branch in Kyoto offers a fantastic view of Rokkakudo Temple, said to have been founded in the ninth century. Not only can visitors appreciate the structure’s unique architecture while sipping their lattes, from next week, they’ll also have a chance to see the temple’s expansive sakura tree.
5. Toyama Kansui Koen / 富山環水公園店
Toyama-ken, Toyama-shi, Minatoirefunecho 5
Open 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Toyama City, on the coast of the Sea of Japan, is a bit off the beaten path for most travelers. Should you find yourself there in sakura season, however, it’d be worth your time to head over to Kansui Park, where the local Starbucks’ floor-to-ceiling windows also provide a view of the adjacent canal and Tenmonbashi Bridge.
6. Miyajima Service Area (Southbound) / 宮島サービスエリア(下り線)店
Hiroshima-ken, Hatsukaichi-shi, Kamitaira 293 Miyajima Service Area Kudarisen
Open 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
Finally, motorists passing through Hiroshima Prefecture may want to pull off, stretch their legs, and grab a drink at the highway rest stop (or “service area,” as they’re called in Japan) just north of Miyajima, the island is considered one of the three most beautiful places in Japan. Not only are there cherry blossoms right outside the Starbucks, there’s also a dog run, so you can enjoy a cup of java, some quality time with man’s best friend, and one of the most breathtaking views in the country all in one fell swoop.
Source: Starbucks Japan Official Blog
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Six sensational Starbucks in Japan for sakura spectators