WHERE WOULD I LIKE TO SPEND THE MOST TIME IN THE EPCOT WORLD SHOWCASE.
I find it very difficult to answer the question of what country in the World Showcase I would like to spend the most time in. It wouldn't be hard for me to spend a great deal of time in any of the nations, and I have done that. Sometimes it's the attraction that becomes my focus, especially if I'm looking to enhance my photo collection. Other times it's the shopping, because I am a devoted window shopper and love to touch and play with everything in the store (drives the sales people nuts).
Then there is just walking around people watching or admiring the cultural entertainment. Finally, and really most important, is taking advantage of the foodie options all around World Showcase. There are nation pavilions I like the most, which are England, Italy, America, Norway, Morocco, China and today's feature story, Japan.
It is very easy to spend a lot of time in Japan at Epcot. It's a wonderful environment with so much to see and enjoy. The authenticity is simply amazing, such as the five-story Pagoda that towers above you. Then there is the brightly painted red Torii gate, welcoming you from the water side that serves as the front entrance; and also its framing of many other Epcot views looking through it from the walkway.
Japan is an original World Showcase pavilion from 1982. The major sponsor of the pavilion is Mitsukoshi, which a major department store in the home country, and also the largest store at Epcot. As you can imagine, the floor space is covered with Japanese cultural products; almost anything you can imagine among clothing, jewelry, toys, many different gifts and even foods. One of the more popular items is fresh pearls opened on the half shell for each customer in full view of everyone.
Three restaurants at Japan insure a pretty steady flow of guests to this location. Teppan Edo, which Mary Ann and I thoroughly enjoyed, includes a traditional chef cooking your meal on a large grill at your table.
Be entertained in the communal ritual of Teppan-yaki style cooking in one of the 6 picturesque Teppan Edo dining rooms as skillful chefs chop and stir-fry fresh shellfish, meats and vegetables at your table, served with Udon noodles and steamed rice.
Tokyo Dining is a traditional sushi restaurant along with some grilled selections for lunch and dinner.
Perfect for connoisseurs and those who like new and exciting tastes, Tokyo Dining provides the finest in flavorful Japanese cuisine with fresh fish and vegetables and high-quality meats offered in a modern setting. Celebrate the excitement of modern Tokyo mixed in a harmonious union with the traditional food culture of ancient Edo.
Finally there is the counter-service selection of Yakitori House, adjacent to the pagoda.
This replica of a 16th-century Japanese tea house specializes in quick meals such as beef sukiyaki, sushi rolls, teriyaki chicken and udon noodles.
Entertainment in Japan is among my favorite on the World Showcase. For example Matsuriza, which are traditional Japanese drummers and story tellers. And one of the more popular venues in the park is Miyuki the Japanese candy artist.
There is an exhibit area of Japan cultural displays. The show most recently ending was a Tin Toy exhibit; showing now is Spirited Beasts, From Ancient Stories to Anime Stars. Here is a Disney story on Japan.
[Walt Disney World News] Along the shoreline of Epcot World Showcase Lagoon, a bright red torii gate, patterned after one in Itsukushima, welcomes visitors. A plaque inscribed in calligraphy proclaims “Japan.”
Near the open-air entrance to the grounds stands the blue-roofed, five-story Goju-no-to pagoda, inspired by a shrine built at Nara in 700 A.D. Topping it is a bronze, nine-ringed sorin, or spire, with gold wind chimes and a water flame.
An oasis of serenity extends from the pagoda: a hill garden which is a Japanese art form at least 1,000 years old. Careful arrangements of waterfalls, rocks, flowers, lanterns, pebbles, foot paths and rustic bridges form a story. Multicolored koi fish in the pond create living images of Japanese art.
Further west, to the right of the courtyard, stands the Shishinden, inspired by the ceremonial and coronation hall found in the Imperial Palace grounds at Kyoto. Inside the Shishinden, guests can browse through the world-famous Mitsukoshi Department Store, which offers everything from ornate kimonos, vibrant-colored robes designed after the traditional Japanese dress, to Japanese toys and dolls, bonsai trees and authentic Mikimoto pearl jewelry.
The massive wood and stone Nijo entry castle with its huge sculptures of mounted samurai warriors beckons guests through the courtyard. The castle is a replica of the Shirasagi-Jo, a 17th century fortress overlooking the city of Himeji, known as one of the most well-preserved castles in Japan. Passing through it, visitors cross a wide bridge spanning a moat to the Himeji or White Heron Castle with its curved stone walls, white plaster structures and blue tile roofs. Its style dates from the mid-1300s.
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