With the opening (February 28, 2019) of the company’s newest roastery, it looks like Tokyo is officially being added to the list of places to visit for Starbucks fans. The world’s biggest Starbucks Roastery is a four story contemporary masterpiece nestled in the heart of the Nakameguro section of Tokyo. This location is the 5th (and biggest!) of its kind (following New York, Seattle, Milan, & Shanghai), and is far from your ordinary store – offering coffee connoisseurs quite an experience!
The new space is truly an enormous coffee paradise! After giving a nod to the Starbucks mermaid perched above the grand doors, you’ll enter the building on the ground floor. This area is dedicated to an Italian bakery and the Reserve’s main café. Freshly brewed coffee? Yup, this is your spot to order, but it’s not so simple. You first choose your beans (almost all the options are single origin) and then the way you would like your beverage brewed. Siphon? Chemex? Modbar Pour-Over? It certainly takes some time and at least for us was a bit overwhelming. So. Many. Choices. The end result, however, is a truly delicious cup of coffee.
Once you’ve decided, who wouldn’t want to pair it with the most perfect pastry/sandwich from the Milanese artisanal bakery, Princi. All the goodness of Italy baked in-house. Yes, please! Can we just pause for a second and take in those windows? As the light coming into the building changes, so does the vibe. You’ll see what we mean as you read on.
Post-ordering, browse #allthegoods while you wait for your buzzer to go off letting you know your beverages are ready for pick-up. In the goods section of the first floor, you can also purchase beans from all over the world which have been both roasted + packaged inside the Roastery. It’s impossible to not notice the giant silos that store the beans before they make their way to the roasting process. But perhaps it’s the main roaster that steals the show.
As you make your way to the second floor, you’ll see it is the home to a beautifully designed Teavana tea area (of course, the biggest Starbucks one on the planet) offering a worldly assortment with specialty drinks like Teavana Cream Soda Matcha and Strawberry Chia Oolong. We didn’t get a chance to personally try either one of these, but we would be lying if we said that they weren’t on our radar for next time.
Moving upwards to the third level, you’ll be greeted by the Arriviamo cocktail bar. Ever wanted to order a vodka martini with cacao liqueur? Well, now’s your chance! Pretty sure our crew could have spent all day in the various sections and lounges of the Roastery. Using an abundance of copper and wood to a fantastic effect, the layout and design of the space makes it a very inviting place to spend a few hours. And who wouldn’t want to fully embrace the experience after the super long wait?!
Then up on the fourth level lies the roasting factory, a lounge area, and a fantastic terrace area off to the side that overlooks the Meguro River. This makes it the perfect sakura viewing spot! We went the week before full-bloom was forecasted and it wasn’t too crowded, but I can imagine that as sakura season nears its peak this area will be packed. No reservations are taken, so space is allocated on a first come first serve basis. Best bet is to get there early and snag a timed ticket! Ouch for the 0700 opening time!
So how does one access this amazingness you may ask? Once you arrive in Nakameguro and make your way to the Roastery, walk to the side of the building and you’ll see some kiosks. Pull a timed ticket here (make sure to get one ticket for each person in your party). There will be a time estimate posted in this building as well, however, in our experience this was a huge underestimate. Scan the QR code on your ticket using your phone camera to sign up for an email notification alerting you when it’s your time to enter.
Checking back (by scanning the QR code on your ticket) frequently will allow you to see how many people are still waiting in front of you. We pulled our tickets at 1250 on a Tuesday and had ~800 in front of us. The estimated wait time was 90 minutes. However, we were not granted entrance until 1550. Yuck…THREE HOURS. That’s a looooonnnggg wait with littles. Granted, we visited soon after opening during the beginning of sakura season so it was extremely busy, but I suspect there will be a wait even after the initial rush calms down.
How to Pass the (Long) Wait Time
So how can you pass the time? Well, for starters, we would have ventured further away had we known the wait time was going to be double what was quoted, but since we didn’t, we stayed close.
We ventured over to Saigoyama Park (~100m away), which although super small does work in a pinch. Lots of dirt (so expect a bit of a mess when it comes to clothes), but some slides, ropes, and swings kept our kiddies occupied for a good bit. Also, there are public toilets here, so that’s a bonus!! Post-park we strolled Meguro River enjoying the lanterns, blooming sakura, and food stalls. This place is also pretty incredible in the evenings, too!
A bit further away lies Harajuku/Shibuya, an area of Tokyo with plenty of ways to fill your time and with just a mere ~20 – 25minutes spent in transit we feel it perfectly fits the bill!
For the following options, head to Naka Meguro Station and take the Tokyu-Toyoko Line towards Wakoshi to Meiji-jingumae (Harajuku) Station.
- Stroll Takashita Dori and take in the shops. Maybe pick up a 45cm rainbow cotton candy from Totti Candy Factory?
- Indulge in an ice cream from Eddy’s Ice-cream. Not interested in sweets? Grab a fancy ice-cream for the kiddies and then head next door to Chabadi Thai Style Tea House!
- Stroll Yoyogi Park and watch street performers!
- Explore Meiji Shrine
If the kiddies have a bit too much energy or perhaps the weather isn’t so wonderful out, walk to the Ikejiri-ōhashi Station and then take the Tokyu-Den-entoshi Line to Shibuya Station. Head to the nearby Peki Peki Kids Bouldering Studio to pass the wait and let your kiddos climb the walls (literally!).
- Hours: 0700 – 2300