We often hear of Starbucks opening new locations, but not many stand with the same poise this Starbucks in Hirosaki, Aomori does. Open since April 2015, this relatively new location looks as though it has been around even before Starbucks was first founded in 1971.

That’s because it was — first built in 1917, this building was originally used by the chief officer of the 8th Division (an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army) 99 years ago.

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The exterior exudes the air of a centuries-old Japanese building, and when surrounded by snow (which Aomori has plenty of), it possesses a traditional, refined beauty you rarely see with most shops that are built in a more modern design.

You won’t be disappointed when you step inside, either. The mostly wooden interior brings warmth and displays tasteful opulence, making you feel as if you’ve been transported to another era.

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The transition from being the dwelling of a chief officer during World War One to a Starbucks does seem a bit odd, but frankly, we’re glad it’s now pumping out lots and lots of delicious coffee.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.