OWL Magazine Korea

Kyoto Gion Cafe – Starbucks Kyoto Sanjo Ohashi Bridge Store

After getting off at Kyoto Kawaramachi Station, we walked north along the Kamo River. As it was not yet time for dinner, we were searching for a cafe to spend some time in. Surprisingly, cafes weren’t as visible as expected. Following a narrow alley behind the riverside, we stumbled upon a new bridge, and across from it, we found a Starbucks.

Kyoto Gion Cafe – Starbucks Kyoto Sanjo Ohashi Bridge Store

Just like in Korea, Starbucks has various locations in Japan. Starbucks has successfully become a franchise cafe not only in Korea but also in Japan. In Japan, Starbucks has tried to localize by introducing unique cafe concepts. One of the famous examples is the tatami-style Starbucks near Kiyomizu-dera.

Although we passed by the Starbucks near Kiyomizu-dera, it was always crowded, and we never had the chance to go inside.

The Starbucks we visited this time was the “Kyoto Sanjo Ohashi Bridge Store,” a cafe situated by the riverside, offering a view of the Kamo River.

Starbucks with a View of the Kamo River

The Starbucks store had both a basement and a ground floor. Despite being called the basement, it was still above ground, providing a view of the Kamo River outside the windows. The counter was on the ground floor for ordering, and if desired, you could go downstairs to find a seat. The ground floor was more open, offering a spacious area for spending time indoors, and there was also an outdoor terrace for those who preferred the fresh air.

Initially, we considered spending time outdoors, but the weather was hotter than expected, so we decided to enjoy our time in the cool indoor space.

Japan’s Starbucks – Similar to Korea’s, Yet Different

The Starbucks stores in Japan were not significantly different from those in Korea. However, Japan, being a service-oriented country, seemed to have more proactive and friendly staff. Also, the beverage prices were similar to those in Korea. A cup of iced Americano was around 410 yen, and although the prices were comparable to Korea, due to the ongoing depreciation of the yen, the actual cost felt a bit more affordable than in Korea.

Before this trip to Japan, when we exchanged currency, the exchange rate had dropped to 899 won per 100 yen. Therefore, due to the favorable exchange rate, we felt like we were getting about 10% more value for our money compared to usual.

The Starbucks we visited in Kyoto provided a pleasant experience, allowing us to relax and enjoy the view of the Kamo River. It was a great place to take a short break and recuperate during our journey.

Starbucks Kyoto Sanjo Ohashi Bridge Store