Japan Pavilion at Epcot
The torii of Itsukushima Shrine in front of the Japanese Pavilion
|Attraction type||Themed Pavilion|
The Japan pavilion is one of the original World Showcase pavilions and had been in planning since the late 1970s. Many attractions have been proposed for the pavilion and one show building was built, but left unused. Meet the World was one planned attraction and was a clone of the attraction Meet the World that was once at Tokyo Disneyland. But because management thought that the Japanese film's omission of World War II might upset many Veterans, it was dropped. The show was so close to opening that the show building and rotating platform was built, but not used.
For years, Imagineers have considered building an indoor roller coaster attraction based on Matterhorn Bobsleds from Disneyland but themed to Japan's Mount Fuji inside a replica of Mount Fuji. At one point, Godzilla or a large lizard attacking guests in their cars was considered. Fujifilm originally wanted to sponsor the ride in the early 1990s, but Kodak, a major Epcot sponsor, convinced Disney to decline the sponsorship. Luckily, the Matterhorn derived design elements survived to be incorporated into Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park. Another proposed attraction was a walk-through version of "Circle-Vision", in which guests would board and walk through a Shinkansen (bullet train) and look through windows (actually film screens) that showcase Japan's changing landscapes. The train would have shaken and moved like a train traveling through the countryside.
The Japan pavilion is made up of buildings surrounding a courtyard. The entrance to the courtyard features a Japanese Pagoda. A torii gate decorates the water in front of the pavilion. The area is filled with Japanese pools and gardens. At the end of the courtyard is the gate to a Japanese castle, including a moat, which leads into a display of Japanese culture.
Attractions & Services
- Bijutsu-kan - An exhibition gallery hosting long-term exhibits on Japanese art and culture. Its current presentation, "Kawaii Life", features a look at Japan's "Culture of Cute."
- Agent P World Showcase Adventure (June 23, 2012 – present)
- Teppan Edo: Formerly called "Teppanyaki Dining Room," chefs prepare stir-fried foods right in front of the guests, just like other teppanyaki restaurants.
- Tokyo Dining: Originally occupied by two separate restaurants, Tempura Kiku and the Matsu No Ma lounge, Tokyo Dining is now a traditional sushi restaurant. They serve sushi, tempura and some other grilled items (such as steak, grilled chicken and so on).
- Katsura Grill: A counter-service restaurant located on a hill adjacent to the pagoda.
- Mitsukoshi department store: Sells many Japanese items, including clothing, jewelry, books, manga, anime items (such as posters), and toys. It has been expanded in recent years to include a far greater variety of items than before. More specifically, a greater portion of the store sells Japanese pop-culture related items, presumably to take advantage of the growing interest in these types of products in America. To date, this is the only remaining branch of Mitsukoshi located in North America following the closure of Mitsukoshi's New York City location.
One of the unique offerings at this pavilion is live demonstrations by Miyuki, a candy artist. This art goes back over 250 years in Japan with artists creating animals or flowers from very hot, soft dough that hardens when it cools. Of the current 15 Japanese candy artists, Miyuki is the only woman.
- "Meet Japan". WDWHistory.com. Retrieved 2007-10-07.[dead link]
- "Mount Fuji Roller Coaster". WDWHistory.com.
- "Bullet Train". WDWHistory.com. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- "Teppan Edo". WDWHistory.com. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- "Miyuki". WDWHistory.com. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- "Matsuriza". Walt Disney Company. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
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