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First Look: Apple, Kyoto, Japan

Apple extends its retail footprint in Japan with the opening of its first store in one the country’s most historic cities.

Apple’s new store in Kyoto, a cultural and technological hub for Japan, is located on Shijō Dori, which has served as the city’s main shopping hub since the 1600s. It is surrounded by many of Kyoto’s famous shrines and temples.

The architecture for the two-level store takes inspiration from local design and materials, with the upper levels clad in a translucent envelope inspired by Japanese lanterns. The use of lightweight timber frame and special paper on the upper facade also draw reference to Japan’s traditional houses.

The building is centered around a multi-level atrium that is also where the store will offer free “Today at Apple” sessions — amid a huge freestanding video wall backdrop — daily on photography, music, coding and more.

Japan was home to Apple’s first store outside the U.S., opening in Tokyo in 2003. The company is in the midst of a retail expansion in the country, with plans to open several new stores, and remodeling many others.

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