Starbucks's First Greener Store in Japan
Visiting the first Greener Store located at Tokyo's Imperial Palace to check out how special it is!
Before visiting this shop, I had absolutely no idea what was a "Greener Store". My friend showed me a picture on Instagram and I thought it looked really fancy. So, we decided to go early March 2022.
Starbucks Coffee Kokyogaien Wadakura Park is located at the outer gardens of the Imperial Palace
It was opened only very recently: December 1st. The nearest stations are Otemachi Station and Nijyubashimae Station. I went out from Exit 6 of Otemachi Station and got to enjoy the beautiful moat of the imperial palace. Do take note that depending on which line you are travelling on, the walk from Otemachi Station can take at least 10 minutes. So be ready for a good exercise.
Starbucks's First Greener Store - inside the artwork of Kenzo Tange
This building was apparently originally designed as a restaurant. However, the business ended this year. The architect who designed this building is Kenzo Tange, who is one of the most prominent architects of the 20th century. He combines traditional and modernism in his work which you will be able to see in the shop.
There were more people than I expected even though it was a weekday. There were Starbucks merchandise selling in front of the counter. There were also clear signs on the floor to show where to queue should the line get too long. I love how their menu can be seen on a big digital screen instead of the usual paper ones. I see the efforts as a Greener Store.
There was such details even on the ceiling. Look at how beautifully the wood crisscrosses over the concrete. And the way the lights were placed gave everything in the restaurant a soft glow.
There was a terrace and it was quite a nice spring day to sit outside. But we chose to sit inside instead to enjoy the beautiful interior. There were many business people. I guess this would make a good place to have a discussion because it was relatively quiet.
The floor tiles are apparently made from coffee grounds. I read somewhere that some of the artwork in the store are made from fishing nets!
One thing though, the stools were so tiny.
There was also a sign on the table reminding us to keep our masks on. Nobody really follows the rule of keeping their masks on even while eating though.
I ordered the shop-limited menu: 和三盆 アーモンドミルク フラペチーノ which I will translate to Wasanbon Almond Milk Frappuccino. Wasabon is actually a kind of Japanese sugar. It is very fine-grained. The sugar is traditionally made in the Shikoku region. It has a history of 200 over years.
Did you notice how the straw is not made out of plastic? I haven't had Starbucks in ages so this isn't probably new. But as mentioned in the title, this is Starbuck's first Greener Store. The company has a Greener Store Framework which aims to reduce packaging and food waste plus carbon emissions by half in 2030. What a wonderful aim!
You can actually borrow a stainless steel tumbler for your take out if you did not bring your own. However, if you do remember to bring your own cup or tumbler, you can get a JPY20 discount.
There were crushed almonds sprinkled on the top so every sip had some nuts in it. I was so glad that it wasn't too sweet. It felt like a simple almond milk drink. Maybe I drank it slow enough but I really liked it how it was the same taste right to the end and not just ice that was left.
Overall, I'd give it a 3.8/5. The location is convenient and very beautiful. You can even take a stroll around the palace after this. Price is typical of Starbucks. The staffs are nice. The interior is pretty. I recommend to go at least once for the experience.
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