Uniquely Designed Rokkakudo Starbucks With Historical Chohoji Temple In Kyoto, Japan 日本京都赏枫之旅：六角堂星巴克
I've finally started to write travelogues regarding my recent trip to Japan, though i foresee that it would take quite a while to finish all within the next few months, due to commitments in some other ongoing local and overseas photojournalism assignments.
Sometimes it is nice to go somewhere to try to know the place well and become familiar with, especially when traveling to a country with a different culture and language. Starbucks is one of these places for most people, since it has stores all over the world. And fortunately there are many Starbucks Coffee stores in Kyoto City too. People in Japan love Starbucks in general.
Basically all the Kyoto's Starbuck stores share the same atmosphere and price. But there is one Starbucks store that has an unique feature. Inside the store at the intersection of Rokkaku and Karasuma streets, customers can see a temple called Rokkakudo. This temple is said to be the origin of Japanese traditional flower arrangement culture.
Given that the temple’s “casual” name is Rokkakudo, the Starbucks location is actually called Rokkakudo Starbucks. True Kyoto-ites might actually raise a fuss if you call the temple by its proper name, Chohoji. Rokkakudo (meaning six-sided temple) is a popular name arising from the hexagonal shape of the temple when viewed from above. People from the area also affectionately use the word Rokkaku-san, feeling a sense of local pride.
位于京都中心地带，有一间叫作 “顶法寺” 的寺庙，相传是由飞鸟时代的圣德太子所建。由于外形呈六角形，所以亦被称作“六角堂”。星巴克京都乌丸六角店，就恰好在“六角堂”的旁边，它们像老朋友一样互相依靠着。这家全玻璃幕墙的星巴克最特别之处，是无论在店内、店外、甚至对面马路，都能穿透星巴克店看到雄伟的 “六角堂”。
As everyone knows, Kyoto is a great place to go and every guide book in every language piles up accolades for it.
Kyoto is the obvious place to go if you’re into checking out historical wooden buildings and Rokkakudo has a certain unique feature that makes it particularly unusual and a must-see. In fact, you can relax in a plush sofa with a hot coffee while checking it out because the room inside the glass from where the photo was taken is a Starbucks! Rokkaku-ten on Karasuma-dori, just south of Sanjo. The great big Karasuma Starbucks is just a stone’s throw away!
Because this Starbucks is a bit different, it’s designated as a “concept store”. While there are many locations all over Japan, this one might be worthy of a place on your Kyoto to-do list, especially if you’re a Starbucks enthusiast.
If you can manage to get a chair directly in front of the glass facing the temple, the view is really stunning.
The reason for the unusual design of this Starbucks has to do with building codes in Kyoto.
Many rules were created in order to preserve the historical look and feel of the city. Ensuring that the view of Chohoji temple remains unobstructed is actually a law! That’s why this Starbucks has so much glass on the used in its construction. The law was also taken into consideration when designing the interior, and the order counter is properly placed to avoid blocking the view of Chohoji. It also has a Japanese motif.
Upon entering Rokkakudo from eastern gate, you’ll notice a stone to the right of the main building. This location is known as the belly-button of Kyoto.
The stone with the hole was the cornerstone of the former Rokkakudo building. The building’s present location is a bit to the south of where the old one used to be. However, because the building was formerly the center of Kyoto, the area got the belly-button nickname, while the corner stone came to be known as belly-button stone.
Karasuma-dori, often regarded as the Kyoto’s main street, is home to a bit of a strange sight. At first glance, it looks like your run of the mill Starbucks, replete with a tall glass exterior. However, if you look a little closer, you’ll notice Chohoji temple visible in the background. If you’re in Kyoto and fancy a cup of coffee in an environment where you can enjoy the history and splendor of a place like Chohoji Temple, this is the spot!
One of my favorite things about Rokkaku-do are its many, many Jizo Bodhisattvas. Jizo Bodhisattvas are one of the most beloved deities in Japanese Buddhism, known as protectors of travelers, women, and particularly children. You can often find Jizo statues and shrines on the side of the road or at intersections, in order to watch over travellers. Jizo Bodhisattvas are also protectors of women. Women will often pray to Jizo statues for fertility, easy childbirth, and the health of their children.
六角堂的庭院内有这些大大小小的可爱十六罗汉，每一尊都有不同的表情，超逗趣。每尊罗汉都笑呵呵地，代表着 “和颜” 、“爱语”。罗汉的旁边有个木色亭子，里面有着亲銮圣人的梦想之像以及穿着草鞋的立像，亲銮上人曾在此地参佛百日。
You may wonder why these statues are often covered in caps and bibs. Parents often dress up Jizo statues as a means to accrue merit. Often, local women will hand-knit them. These clothing are commonly red, the color of safety.
Rokkakudo is a millennia old structure and counts as a National Treasure, the highest order of artifact in the country. It is on the list for UNESCO membership due to its uniqueness in design and function. It’s kind of fun to bring a bag of dried bread crumbs along as well. Hundreds if not a couple of thousand pigeons hang out on the ground in a large mass inside the temple ground. They create a very nice atmosphere, and add a certain charm if even for those of us who really don’t adore pigeons so much would rather have a little peace!
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
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