You can pull up a review of all attractions and World Showcase Pavilions here.
Setting: The red torii gate and the 85 foot tall Goju-no-to pagoda are the two structures you’ll probably notice first as you enter the Japan Pavilion. These and other buildings are surrounded by beautiful gardens made up of native Japanese plants, bamboo, and evergreen, maple, and monkey puzzle trees.
The large courtyard in the middle of the Pavilion makes Japan feel more open, relaxed, and less cluttered than other Pavilions.
Be sure to cross the bridge leading to the White Heron Castle and check out the koi fish below.
Attraction Info: Although adding a ride has been talked about since the Pavilion originally opened in 1982, Japan still does not offer a major attraction. Instead, there is an art gallery inside of the castle with exhibits that change periodically.
Currently, “Kawaii – Japan’s Cute Culture” is on display.
You can pull up pictures of just about everything inside in this post.
For years, Matsuriza, a group of traditional acrobatic Taiko drummers, performed on the steps of the pagoda. Their contract ended in March of 2020 with no word on whether they, or another act, will return in the near-term.
Japan is home to three table service restaurants, two of which are located up the steps above the Mitsukoshi Department Store.
The third, Takumi-Tei, is a signature restaurant with an entrance to the right of Mitsukoshi. On average, it’s Epcot’s most expensive and most intimate dining experience.
Teppan Edo features teppanyaki style Japanese cooking on hibachi grills similar to Benihana.
Service is among the friendliest and, because the food is cooked right in front of you, among the freshest available. It’s also on the expensive side and portions are typically smaller than what might be expected. Still, it’s a fun overall experience, and one that many guests return to time and time again.
Tokyo Dining features sushi and other traditional items in a more formal, contemporary setting, though the atmosphere remains decidedly casual.
We like lunch, when the restaurant typically offers several specials with entrees served alongside miso soup for under $25.
The full menu is otherwise available all day, and includes several types of sushi, in addition to bento box combinations, tempura, noodles, and more.
Underneath the two second-floor table service restaurants, you’ll find one of Epcot’s newest restaurants in Takumi-Tei.
It’s an excellent choice if your pockets are deep and you don’t want to leave the Park for a signature restaurant like Flying Fish or California Grill. Pull up the menu at DisneyWorld.com here to see if it sounds like something you might be interested in enjoying.
Katsura Grill is the quick service arm of Japan, offering items like teriyaki, basic sushi, tempura, and udon noodle bowls.
With plenty of more interesting options abound, and with relatively high prices for mediocre food, I think most people are better served heading elsewhere.
Still, Katsura offers rare indoor and beautiful outdoor seating, making for a pleasant overall experience. We like the Seafood Ramen and Chicken Cutlet Curry more than the teriyaki.
Kabuki Cafe serves a snow-cone-like treat, called a kaki gori, for about $5.
It’s a terrific cold snack, particularly in the summer heat.
Kabuki Cafe also serves an alcoholic version in one of these giant martini cups. While they aren’t particularly boozy, the alcohol does cut some of the sugar and they’re fun and refreshing to eat.
Drink Around the World:
The Mitsukoshi Department Store sells a variety of sakes at an informal tasting bar.
A few years ago, Mitsukoshi expanded the area in the back of the department store.
This is also where you’ll find Japan’s best (by far) beer in a bottle.
In addition, Kabuki Cafe serves sake, plum wine, Kirin, Asahi, Sapporo, and other beers. I’d skip the “Frozen Kirin,” which is just a regular Kirin with a strange whipped beer foam on top. It’s a lot more disgusting than it sounds. The novelty of the thing may get you in line to pick one up anyway.
Finally, there is a sake bar directly across from the Mitsukoshi Department store that sells sake, mixed sake cocktails, frozen beverages, beer, and plum wine.
This is the best spot for a mixed drink.
Character Sightings: Characters don’t usually appear in the Japan Pavilion.
Mitsukoshi Department Store is far and away the most popular shopping location in World Showcase.
At more than 10,000 square feet, it’s also the largest. Mitsukoshi has something for every person and every budget.
The candy and food items are probably the most popular, but you’ll also find kimonos, Samurai swords, Bonsai trees, chopstick sets, calligraphy brushes, toys, and everything in between.
If you’re only going to visit one store at the World Showcase then this has to be it. Plan to spend a while in here because there’s a lot to see.
This is also home to the popular Pick-A-Pearl, where you have a chance to select an oyster. After a fun ceremony, you’ll find out what the (guaranteed) pearl inside looks like.
You have an opportunity to have it set into jewelry either by purchasing a piece at the store or bringing your own from home (they’re cheaper on eBay). Prices start around $10 and go up well over $200.
Japan is a beautiful Pavilion with enough dining establishments, kiosks, and stores that most guests will head inside for a look around. Shopping and sampling sake is always a good time, but it’s unfortunate that the Mount Fuji roller coaster or another major attraction never materialized. Maybe someday.