Some hardcore travelers want to sit in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and stumble through basic Japanese to order the most obscure dish possible. These gem experiences should be embraced, but do you really want every day of your trip in Japan to be so intense? What if you just want a place to catch your breath and charge up that phone battery?
For travelers in Tokyo, Starbucks is just the kind of oasis that can provide that much-needed pause during travels. It’s one of the few cafes that offer free WiFi in Japan, plus the stores usually have outlets to charge devices, English-speaking staff and most importantly—restrooms and trash cans. (FYI Tokyo is notorious for its lack of these two things.)
Plus, Japan does Starbucks like nowhere else meaning that, while it is a US chain, there’s still something culturally unique to discover at many of its Japanese counterparts.
These 5 spots are for when you’re simply in need of a place to sit back, relax and enjoy the view of Japan’s dazzling capital—just don’t expect the barista to get your name right here either.
5. Starbucks at Ueno Oshi Park
This store is right in the middle of the action of Ueno, a classic stop for anyone visiting Tokyo for the first time. You could easily spend a day exploring just Ueno Park and its many museums and art galleries. In spring, the Onshi Park area where the Starbucks is located is a very popular cherry blossom spot, while the cafe is so close to the front gate of Ueno Zoo that you can sometimes hear the elephants and lions while sipping your coffee. After knocking back a few limited-edition Starbucks specials, you can walk down to the lotus-filled Shinobazu Pond for a stroll.
Location aside, this store has extremely professional staff and most speak a bit of English. The store has a small van outside for anyone with a small (tall-sized) order to get in and out as fast as possible. There is plenty of outside seating and cozy couches inside. There you can take a rest and enjoy the occasional street performer or the symphony of kids losing their mind about Xiang Xiang the baby panda.
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