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Starbucks tranquility in Oharai-machi

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Blending in with your locale is a trick that retailers who want to be part of the community seek to play, often with pretty mixed results.

A sterling example of what is possible, however, is the newly opened two-floor Starbucks in Oharai-machi, just around the corner from one of Japan’s most sacred Shinto sites and down the road from the bustling metropolis that is Nagoya.

This branch of the caffeine superpower actually looks, to all intents and purposes, like an Edo-era building, complete with gargolye tiles on the roof and an interior that makes use of plain wood on both floors to create an atmosphere of tranquility and contemplation – quite a long way from the Starbucks norm.

Its location means that it is in the middle of a shopping area where a heavy emphasis is placed on tradition and were it not for the muted Starbucks logo, in wood, on the exterior of this one, it would be easy to think that it was a domestic structure – a pastiche of yesterday’s building techniques.

Pictures: Starbucks