Coffee and Culture: This Starbucks in Japan Pays Tribute to Traditional Japanese Architecture

traditional japanese architecture of a store
The design for Starbucks in Saitama Japan traces back in the Edo Period (1615-1868) where traditional Japanese architecture is rooted. Photo courtesy of Time Out.

Coffee shop icon Starbucks launched a branch that will take you back to the architectural footprints of Japan. Called as Kawagoe Kanetsuki Dori Starbucks Coffee, this coffee shop serves as a reflection of traditional Japanese architecture in modern times.

This extraordinary Starbucks can be found in Kawagoe’s Kanetsuki Dori Street or known as Saitama’s ‘Little Edo’. Kane means “bell” in Japanese and the scenic street gets its name from a bell tower that is just next to the Starbucks location.

Toki no Kane or “Time Bell Tower” is one of Kawagoe City’s traditional heritage. Located just meters away from the bell,  the shop’s design blends seamlessly with the surrounding Edo-style scenery, decorated externally with Saitama-produced timber. The interior also perfectly captures a sense of Japanese architecture.

Taki no Kane reflects traditional japanese architecture
For more than 400 years, Taki no Kane has been ringing for four times a day. It also serves as evidence of traditional Japanese architecture by using clay-walled warehouse-styled buildings. Photo courtesy of Time Out.


Despite of the coffee’s foreign aroma, the interior creates a stunning harmony with the nostalgic atmosphere, almost mysteriously enticing you to let yourself drift even deeper into the fascinating feeling of Old Japan.

The shop’s exterior, are made from cedar wood from the local Saitama Prefecture. A commitment to the history of the town itself can be found in the fabric of the benches, using a special fabric called Kawagoe tōzan that has been a beloved regional product since the Edo Period. These sorts of details create a surprisingly warm, familiar atmosphere that exudes Japan’s peculiar gentleness; a design to not only take tourists to another world but also to offer a thoroughly “Kawagoe” or traditional Japanese architecture feeling for the locals.

Japan is filled with old townscapes and some are protected and preserved. Saitama is known for its characteristic warehouses with thick plaster walls and tiled roofs that represent traditional Japanese architecture of the Edo period.

exterior of japanese styled architecture of starbucks
The terrace seats behind the store feature a full-blown Japanese garden. The wide-open, green space lets you have an experience unique to Koedo Kawagoe. Photo courtesy of Remoju.

Walk all the way to the back of the store to find this lush Japanese garden – at that point, you might forget that you’re standing in a coffee chain and mistake the place for a luxurious restaurant. Two types of sofa invite to stretch your legs and take a break in a space that feels like the embodiment of Japanese harmony. An experience such as this is special even for the Japanese guests who are equally enthralled by this unique Starbucks.


The Japan-based roastery is the second in Asia, beating the now-smaller Starbucks Shanghai. To date, Starbucks Tokyo is considered as the world’s largest Starbucks.


The interior, on the other hand, boasts a slightly more modern touch and almost feels more like a bar than a standard Starbucks store. It spaciously spreads out on 219 square meters, uninterrupted by pillars. The materials used were chosen to emulate the black plaster representative of the Edo period, as well as the white plaster that Kawagoe’s warehouses are so famous for.

interior of japanese architectural cafe
The courtyard sits at the center of the shop and terrace seats in the back of the store offer a calming view on the lush green garden. It’s a scenery that changes its atmosphere and colors with every passing season. Photo courtesy of Remujo.
japanese cloth designed
The traditional textile "Kawagoe Kara" is used for the bench seat reflects the feminine side of traditional Japanese architecture of furniture. Photo courtesy of Remoju.

The “Kawakoshi Kara” woven fabric, which has been popular in Kawagoe since the Edo period, it is used for the entrance to the store and the back of the bench seats installed inside the store. As for the string that connects the backrest and the bench seat, each barista makes a plum tie.

There are also multiple artworks displayed in the store. The fusuma picture produced from the end of the Taisho era to the early Showa period is displayed like a painting by removing the original frame and putting it in a frame using cedar from Saitama. Also, the frame material of the fusuma that was removed is reused as an art frame depicting coffee cherry. This is a piece of coffee cherry decorated with five traditional Japanese patterns such as “Star Cloisonne”, “Weight Connection”, “Kagome”, “Tachiyu”, and “Aominami”.

fusuma painting embelishes japanese architecture and art
The traditional textile "Kawagoe Kara" is used for the bench seat reflects the feminine side of traditional Japanese architecture of furniture. Photo courtesy of Remoju.

It is said that the creation of a store that is rooted in the town of Kawagoe and blended with it came from the desire to have a connection with the local community and an attachment to the store. Not only tourists but also locals are expected to be a place to relax. Pay a visit to Kawagoe Kanetsuki Dori Starbucks Coffee, and enjoy the traditional Japanese architecture and art blended harmoniously.

Give your place a timeless and positive look with Japanese interior design.  

Tokyo Grand Renovation (TGR) is a design and build specialist when it comes to crafting luxury and functionality in one. Inspired by Japanese philosophy and style, TGR’s headquarters is at 9110 La Campana St. cor. Trabajo St., Brgy. Olympia, Makati City, 1207.   

For inquiries, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 832 16 76, or send an e-mail at

TGRはマカティの高級インテリアデザイン、リノベーション、会社です。TGRは 住宅および商業 スペースの為のデザインと建築を提供 し ております。お問い合わせは 、02832 1676 にお電話いただくか、 電子メール へ送信 お願いします。


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