Florida Guide > Disney Parks
Japan - Epcot
You will find the Japanese Pavilion between United States and Morocco in World Showcase. In designing the pavilion, Disney tried to create samples of traditional Japanese structures.
You can see the bright red torii gate, which welcomes visitors to Japan from around the World Showcase Lagoon. Look for the blue-roofed 5 story Goju-no-to pagoda inspired by a shrine built at Nara in 700 A. D. Each of the levels of the 85-foot tall pagoda represents an element, earth, water, fire, wind and sky. Buddhists, who make up a large percentage of the Japanese population, believe all things are created from these elements.
To the right of the courtyard can be found the Shishinden, inspired by the ceremonial and coronation hall found on the Imperial Palace grounds in Kyoto. The original Shishinden was built in 794 and is said to be one of the first true styles of Japanese architecture.
On the east side of the courtyard, the huge wood and stone Nijo entry castle with its sculptures of mounted samurai warriors welcomes guests. Passing through it, visitors cross a wide bridge spanning a moat to the Shirasagigi, or White Egret Castle, with its curved stone walls, white plaster structures and blue tile roofs. Its style dates back to the mid-1300s.
Gardening is a passion in Japan and is very precise. Every object and its placement in the garden has a special meaning. Rocks are an essential element for Japanese gardens and these were shipped in from North Carolina and Georgia. However many of the plants in the gardens are not native to Japan, Florida’s climate is too different. The Disney gardeners did their best to design a Japanese garden, by blending activity, symbolism, and a reverence for nature with intense maintenance and a few Japanese native plants. Do not miss the Koi fish in the pond in the garden.
If you are at Epcot during their International Flower and Garden Festival do go to the Japanese Pavilion to see their flower wall. One year the wall displayed the Japanese flag, another year it was deep purple irises.
You will enjoy a visit to the Mitsukoshi Department Store which is filled with dolls, fine porcelain, kimonos, Japanese handcrafts, jewelry, snacks and much more. For a unique souvenir, choose a live oyster and get a pearl. If you want an inexpensive souvenir Japanese Art Cards are only $2. 50 each.
A lot of people think that best stop in Epcot is the Matsu-No-Ma Lounge located on the second floor near the Teppanyaki Restaurant. Here you can sit and relax in front of large picture windows and watch the crowds go by on the pavement below. You can look over the lagoon, watching the workers prepare for that night’ s showing of IllumiNations.
If you are at Epcot in December as part of Epcot’ s Holidays from Around the World, storytellers perform in each country throughout World Showcase. In Japan, the Daruma Seller (a humble Daruma doll vendor) makes appearances throughout the afternoon, telling of holiday customs in her country.
Do visit Japan you will enjoy it.
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