Epcot’s Japan Pavilion: Through the torii gate and into a land of food, music & more
The Japan Pavilion is my favorite in the World Showcase at Epcot. It is a beautiful sight as you come upon the blue-roofed pagoda and bright red tori gate overlooking the water. Every trip to Epcot includes a stop there, even if it is just for my favorite Japanese snack and drink.
Shopping & entertainment
If you are one of those people who love to try foods and beverages from other countries, then stopping by the Japan Pavilion is a must. Mitsukoshi Department Store is one the larger stores in the World Showcase. It offers everything from Japanese snacks and tea sets to samurai swords and kimono’s. For those Hello Kitty fans, there is a huge selection of everything Hello Kitty.
You will often see crowds of people gathered around a tank of water that contains oysters. This is the pick a pearl station. Here you can pick you own oyster and pearl for around $20. It is a nice souvenir, however it can get pricy when it comes to settings for the pearl. The cast members attract crowds with drumming and interacting with the people watching.
There is plenty of entertainment as well to keep you busy. You will notice a sign with show times outside of the Mitsukoshi Department Store titled Miyuki. Miyuki performs Japanese Candy Art, or Ame Zaiku in Japanese. What makes this show so unique is that there are only 15 people trained in this art, Miyuki being the only female. She has appeared on the Travel Channel, Food Network and even the Rosie O’Donnel Show. That should be enough to make you curious to see Miyuki for yourself! Guests can make requests on which animal they would like her to make. In the video below you will see her making a monkey.
Throughout the day you can also catch Taiko drumming by Matsuriza. This is a 15 minute show that is worth the time to stop and watch. They put on a powerful show that you can’t help but to stop and watch.
If you love art and traditional folklore then stop by the Bijutsu-kan gallery. This gallery exhibits traditional art and folklore with a modern twist. In there you will see how Japanese folklore has inspired modern day entertainment. Modern day Japanese animation uses these “spirit beasts” and tales from the past. Being a Japanese animation fan myself, I love seeing the history that has inspired the creation of some of my favorite characters.
There is plenty of places to eat at the Japan Pavilion. As mentioned you can stop inside the gift shop and try out some authentic Japanese snacks. There is also the Katsura Grill which is a quick-service restaurant. The Katsura Grill offers sushi, teriyaki chicken, miso soup, and other quick service Japanese cuisine. The prices range from 8 to 13 dollars. Inside the courtyard there are a couple stands that offer Japanese drinks (both alcohol and non alcoholic drinks) and snacks.
Above the Mitsukoshi Department Store are the Mitsukoshi restaurants Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining. Prices ranging from 15 to 30 dollars. At Teppan Edo guests are seated at the grill while the chef prepares their meals right there. The walls in the rooms at Teppan Edo are filled with traditional Japanese art. While Tokyo Dining has a more modern look to it but still offers traditional Japanese cuisine.
My favorite World Showcase Pavilion
The koi pond, bonsai trees, shows, art, food and huge selection in the gift shop are all great reasons to stop by and experience the Japan Pavilion at Epcot. But besides all that, another great reason to stop by is the cast members. From the hostess at Teppan Edo to those working in the Mitsukoshi Department Store, they are all so friendly and make you feel welcomed. That is one of the reasons this remains my favorite pavilion in the World Showcase.
Japan Pavilion at Epcot – map & links
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Official website: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/attractions/japan-pavilion/
Japan Pavilion at Epcot – photo gallery
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