Blue Bottle founder James Freeman has always had an obsession with Japan. You can see his love for the culture in the Japanese flower arrangements (Ikebana) that can be found in every shop in the Bay Area as well as everything they sell in the store being from Japan. “Anybody who’s known me more than a few minutes knows I’m very deeply inspired by the old-fashioned coffee shops of Japan, and in Tokyo particularly,” he admits in an interview.
On March 23rd Blue Bottle opened it’s first shop outside of Tokyo in the old capital Kyoto in a quite street close to the Nanzen-ji temple. Similar to %Arabica, they picked a beautiful 100-year old town house (machiya) and renovated it into a cafe with 44 seats and a courtyard.
A view of the facade and the courtyard. Photo by Eater SF.
Inside the cafe a warm, modern interior welcomes you. Photo by Eater SF.
The ceiling has been kept the same and beautifully displays the 100-year old architecture. Photo by Eater SF.
They also offer exclusive items to the location such as green tea mint cookies which makes sense considering Matcha was born in Kyoto (read more about it on this post).
A officer holding the Blue Bottle sign during opening day. Photo by disco_hrm
An interesting fact is that Daimaru Matsuzakaya, a big department store chain, is behind this project. They’ve been behind the beautiful remodel of a town house in Gion where Hermes had a pop-up which was turned into a showroom for Hublot, the watch maker form Switzerland end of 2017. Curious what kind of project they’ll come up with next!