Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are taking you on a virtual tour of Epcot’s World Showcase.
The Japan Pavilion in Epcot is my favorite place in Walt Disney World. I’m in love with everything from the food to the shopping to the overall ambiance. It’s a gorgeous little retreat and my own personal Disney vacation addiction. Believe it or not, on one vacation, I actually visited the Japan Pavilion than I visited Magic Kingdom.
Yeah, I really do love it that much.
But what is it that pulls me in each and every time? Let me break down all the things I love about the Japan Pavilion:
1. The Location. First and foremost, let’s talk about that view. There is not literally one inch of the Japan Pavilion
that doesn’t feature amazing scenery. It’s almost directly across from Spaceship Earth and the view is largely unobstructed. That means everything from fireworks to a gorgeous sunset can play across the World Showcase skies and you have a front row seat. In the back of the Japan Pavilion and need a break from all things Disney? Guess what, you’re surrounded by lush trees, soft lantern-style lights, and even a small koi pond, perfect to just unwind from the exhausting experience that was standby at Test Track.
2. Mitsukoshi Department Store. If somebody said to me “Here’s a million dollars, you can spend it at only one store at Walt Disney World.” I wouldn’t even have to think before I said Mitsukoshi. That. Store. Is. Awesome. And it has absolutely everything you could ever think of, plus a lot I bet you couldn’t. Pokemon, Nintendo, Studio Ghibli… It’s all there. There’s clothes, there’s hair accessories, kimonos, bonzai trees, books on philosophy, tea services, bento boxes, and everything in between. And the food section? Holy cow. Let’s just say if you ever need Hi-Chew and shrimp chips, they’ve got you covered. From the yummy (green tea Kit Kats!) to the unexpected (coffee in a soda can?) to the confusing (why is chocolate-covered squid a thing…), it’s all there. You will find things there you never knew existed, though now that you know they do, you need to own it right away. I mean, did I really need that mold that shapes my hard boiled eggs into little cars or the solar powered lucky cat circus with the little cats that dance around? Yeah, clearly I did. I don’t understand why I did, but I did. Passed on the chocolate covered squid though. That I did not need.
3. The People. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again… The Cast Members working in and around the Japan Pavilion are, without a doubt, the nicest team Cast Members in all of Walt Disney World. I mean, all Disney Cast Members are incredible by and large, but in Japan… I feel like they’re genuinely thrilled to see all the guests wander through. From the Cast Member who takes you one-on-one to pick out kimonos to the attendant at the Sake bar, everybody is friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to help you learn about Japan and the Japanese culture. They’re so friendly (and I’m there so often for so long) that, by the end of my vacations, there’s at least a few CM’s who say “hello Jerusha!” as I come in the door. It’s kind of like Norm going into “Cheers,” but more magical.
4. Dining Options. With one quick serve, two sit down restaurants, and 3 or so kiosks with sake, snacks, and treats, there’s a lot to choose from. For some reason, perhaps because the restaurants are well off the beaten path, they always seem a bit less crowded than other Epcot dining areas. Katsura Grill, for example, is in the back near the koi pond and paper lanterns and usually I have the place mostly to myself. The menu there is small, but flavorful, with lots of different options for diners. Personally, I find it to be a very underrated cozy spot. And along those lines, while it seems like Tokyo Dining gets a lot of attention for both the amazing food and the stunning location (it is hard to beat pretty much the best dining view of Illuminations in the park), I think it’s the other restaurant, Teppan Edo, that is really the hidden gem of the Pavilion. With seats located around several hibachi grills, you get a really unique and highly personalized dining experience along with some pretty spectacular food.
5. The Shopping. Oh wait, I can’t use that again? Fine, whatever. The point remains. The shopping is awesome.
6. Bijutsu-kan Gallery. Undoubtedly one of the most fascinating exhibit area in the parks, the Bijutso-kan Gallery is almost like a quiet library in the middle of a bustling city, and it always features the most amazing exhibit dedicated to honoring the culture of Japan. For several years, it was an exhibit detailing the creatures and myths of ancient Japanese culture. I was truly blown away at how even something as simple as Mario is steeped in the roots of Japanese mythology. Recently, however, they kicked the exhibit over to a display of Kawaii, or the Japanese movement dedicated to cuteness and enjoyment of adorable things. Think “Hello Kitty,” but aimed at adults. The recreation of a Japanese 20-somethings capsule apartment in the city made me want to run back into Mitsukoshi while waving my credit card… And I did.
I think I’ve made my case pretty well for the awesomeness that is the Japan Pavilion. Or at the very least, the amazing shopping to be done there (last mention of the shopping, I swear). The Japan Pavilion is the heart of the World Showcase, the home to delectable food, spectacular views, and an intriguing look into that wonderfully diverse culture of Japan.
Disclosure notice: I was not paid, nor was this post sponsored by Mitsukoshi… I just really like shopping there. A lot.
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Tour of Epcot’s World Showcase Loop:
- 1st Stop – Superheroes and Teacups | 3 Reasons to Love Epcot’s United Kingdom Pavilion
- 2nd Stop – The Disney Chef | Why You Need to Say Kon’nichiwa to Epcot’s Japan Pavilion
- 3rd Stop – Magical Memories with the Mouse | My Favorite Epcot World Showcase Pavilion – Morocco
- 4th Stop – DISTherapy | Italy Pavilion
- 5th Stop – Dad for Disney | O Canada!
- 6th Stop – Rolling with the Magic | Fall in Love with France in Epcot’s World Showcase
- 7th Stop – My Dreams of Disney | Mexico Pavilion
- 8th Stop – The Delightful Life | Epcot’s Norway Pavilion: the Past, Present, and Future
- 9th Stop – Bibbidi Bobbidi Booze | Come To Visit Mulan And Stay To Get Canto-Loopy: A Guide To EPCOT’S China Pavillion
- 10th Stop – Disney Mamas | Epcot Spotlight – Germany Pavilion
- 11th Stop – What’s the Point? | The American Adventure