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Japan is one of the more picturesque of the countries in the World Showcase. It also is one of the best spots for shopping.
Photo enthusiasts will want to capture the large red torii gate that welcomes visitors to this pavilion.
A towering blue-roofed pagoda, which is a replica of a 7th century Horyuji Temple, is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Footbridges cross streams brimming with water lilies and colorful koi fish.
Japanese maples, bamboo, monkey puzzle trees and other native plantings provide a tranquil garden setting. This is a great place to sit and relax for awhile.
A unique feature of Japan is the wide open courtyard. It's one of the few countries where you won't feel hemmed in while enjoying the sites.
The "White Heron Castle" is modeled after a 17th century fortress that overlooks Himeji. In the castle, you'll find the Bijutsu-kan Gallery which displays both traditional and modern Japanese art.
The current exhibit in the Bijutsu-kan Gallery showcases the country's "culture of cute." The display, "Kawaii: Japan's Cute Culture" shows modern Japan and how the designs have become a way of life. Kawaii is used as a way of self-expression. The exhibit details kawaii's origins and its use across Japanese culture. The statue below was designed by Kawaii artist and designer Sebastian Masuda.
Matsuriza, Japanese taiko drumming, is performed several times
a day, check the Daily Times Guide for exact times.
A replica of the coronation and ceremonial halls of Japan's Imperial Palace is home to the Mitsukoshi Department Store. Named for the oldest department store in the world, the original store goes back three centuries. This shop is “the mall” of Epcot’s World Showcase where you will find a large variety of Japanese gifts and souvenirs.
You will see everything from Hello Kitty and Tamagotchis to traditional Japanese footwear and clothing. "Anime" trading cards, i-Pets, Kingdom Hearts action figures, and model cars are just a few of the cool items for children.
The Mikimoto Store is a must see that showcases a gorgeous selection of pearl jewelry. If you're looking for a more affordable keepsake, you can Pick-A-Pearl for under $20. (The pearl itself is inexpensive, it's the settings that can add up.)
The extensive selection of books covers Japanese gardening and architecture, martial arts, origami, cooking, and learning the Japanese language. They also have an expanded section of the store for items pertaining to Japanese cooking, in particular for sushi preparation and serving.
Several of the unique souvenirs available are bonsai trees, Iwach Wind Bells, the Japanese Tea Kettle, and Calligraphy brushes. If you have a more traditional souvenir in mind they carry chopsticks, Japanese lanterns and fans, and incense. Do not forget to check out the Sake Tasting Bar located in the back of the shop. In this area you can sample sake and purchase your favorite along with a Sake serving set.
Over the Mitsukoshi Department Store are the Mitsukoshi restaurants, which offer two unique dining experiences. At Teppan Edo, guests are seated at an 8 seat white corian counter around a large grill where chefs chop, prepare and cook your meal with such skill and speed, it provides a means of entertainment to enhance your dining experience. If there are less than 8 in your party, be prepared to sit with other guests. Entrees include chicken, beef, and seafood cooked alone or in combinations with crisp vegetables served with tasty sauces, steamed rice and salad. Sushi appetizers are also available.
Mitsukoshi Tokyo Dining offers traditional Japanese cuisine and ingredients with modern innovative presentations. The décor of the restaurant is elegantly done in a modern setting. From the moment walk in you are greeted by sincere Japanese cast members, and you’ll find that their constant bowing adds to the authenticity of your overall experience. Bowing is a very important custom in Japan and it is impolite not to return a bow to whoever bows to you. Japanese greet each other by bowing instead of handshaking.
The menu combines traditional food culture dating back to the Edo period with the spirit of modern Tokyo. Entrees include sushi and sashimi, steak, chicken, and shrimp, as well as beverages such as hot sake, green tea and Kirin beer. If you've never had sushi before, this is the place!
Katsura Grill is a quick-service restaurant that gives diners the option of eating indoors
or outdoors and is known for its beautiful gardens. The outside of this restaurant is modeled after the strolling gardens of Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, Japan, a historic landmark. Katsura Grill serves dishes such as sushi, Japanese curry, teriyaki, edamame, udon noodles, a panko-breaded chicken sandwich, and Okonomiyaki (a Japanese "pizza", with vegetables and sauce topping a pancake). Wash down your dinner with Japanese beers, wines, or sake.
Tip: The front terrace here is a great spot from which to watch IllumiNations.