Sunday, December 12, 2004

Finding a Starbucks in Shinjuku

I have noted before that Japan is traditionally a tea culture. That is slowly changing, but the business hotels here can't brew a decent cup of coffee to save their life, although they try hard.

For this reason I have always looked for the closest Starbucks in the area for my morning fix. There was one near Shinjuku station that I have been going to for years, but to my shock and dismay I found that it was closed! I panicked, wondering if Starbucks pulled out of Japan, or at least Shinjuku, leaving me to fend with one of the other chains here:

Excelsior Coffee - This is a Starbucks wantabe, and where I ended up the first morning when I found my Starbucks missing. The coffee was pretty good, and definitely better than the hotel stuff, but not quite up to par. Their set-ups are nearly identical to Starbucks with comfy chairs and nice seating areas with nice music playing the background. If you can't find a Starbucks, this is a good back-up.

Doutor - These are low-end, "price cutting" coffee shops and all over the place. They are actually owned by the same company as Excelsior (they opened Excelsior as their high-end brand after Starbucks arrived). I haven't been to one and often wonder if they were meant to be named "Detour", which would be a good name for a coffee shop.

Peet's - I noticed a couple of these. It turns out these are a result of a licensing deal with a Japanese company. I have never been to one, although I know a lot of people in NoCal like them.

There were a few other stores here and there, but none that I was interested in - I wanted my Starbucks (or Diedrich, which isn't in Japan). So I did some research and found there were actually several close to my hotel - I just didn't know they were there. The Starbucks site lists them by address only, so I thought I would do everyone a favor and map the Starbucks which are in walking distance of Shinjuku station and the major business hotels in the area (note: there is apparently one IN Shinjuku station, but that place in a labyrinth and I haven't been able to find it):

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