Translated by Ellyn Barnes
Starbucks Dazaifu Tenmangu Omotesando, Fukuoka - Great Coffee And Wonderful Woodwork
Written by Ai Yoneda
Starbucks Dazaifu Tenmangu Omotesando Store in Fukuoka is a unique concept store featuring stunning traditional woodwork with a modern feel. In this article, we introduce the special features of this store located right next to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine.
Starbucks Coffee is known affectionately in Japan as "Staba". Among the uncountable Starbucks stores across the country, there are several concept stores, which are built around a particular theme or based on an area's characteristic buildings. One of those concept stores can be found in Dazaifu, Fukuoka.
This is the Starbucks Dazaifu Tenmangu Omotesando Store, located on the way to the Shinto shrine Dazaifu Tenmangu. The store is situated just a few minutes' walk away from the shrine and the streets are lined with souvenir stores and shoppers abound, so you shouldn't have a hard time finding it.
This store's signature feature is the use of a type of woodwork known as kigumi - a traditional Japanese method used to create the framework for housing. Instead of using nails to solidify the structure, the wood is cut into and slotted together.
Designed by architect Kengo Kuma, the theme of this store is the "fusion of the traditional and the modern using natural materials", and the traditionally-constructed beams that flow throughout the store certainly give off a modern feel.
So, what does it look like inside?
This is the view that greets you as you enter. The inside walls and ceiling are completely covered in these frames, and the layers upon layers of planks are almost overwhelming. Looking at them, it feels as though they could come loose at any moment - and yet they give off a sense of warmth that only wood can provide.
At this store, you can also buy limited-edition mugs and tumblers with Fukuoka-based designs. The above pattern incorporates the characteristic blue and white of Hakata-ori, a traditional Fukuoka textile design, with seigaiha, a traditional semicircular wave pattern. These waves are said to represent the Genkai Sea which surrounds north-western Kyushu.
Even the lights near the bar are made of wood, giving the entire store a soft glow.
The view from further inside the store. As it gets darker outside, the contrast between the soft lights and the shadows from the woodwork creates an increasingly dream-like atmosphere.
In Kyushu, this is the only Starbucks concept store (as of September 2015). How about spending your next coffee break in this extraordinary space, surrounded by traditional woodwork? Next time you're in the area, make sure to pop in on your way to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine. This truly special store is definitely worth the visit.