All of the pavilions at the World Showcase are special. Each one offers something unique that entices theme park tourists to visit frequently. Whether you love the Three Caballeros, Anna and Elsa, Beatles and Doctor Who merchandise, German chocolate, or just eating a ton and getting drunk, this part of Epcot has countless ways to pass the time.
One pavilion stands out for fans of all things cute, though. This place is the Japan Pavilion, and it’s where some of the most passionate Disney fans spend lots of time and possibly too much disposable income. This part of Epcot is the land of Kawaii, where Kit Kats come in the most horrific flavors and the tiniest stuffed animals cost $25. Why are some people so devoted to this celebration of the land of the Rising Sun? Read on to learn about the joys of the Japan Pavilion.
Japanese design is among the most influential styles in the world. In Japan, architectural structures aren’t simply about metal and concrete. They also must display beauty, balance, order, and harmony. Feng shui is Taoist in nature and Chinese in origin, but the Japanese embrace the premise. Even on the crowded streets of Tokyo, new structures must obey the unspoken laws of this style.
The Japan Pavilion ably recreates many of the themes of architectural design. The wienie that attracts attention to this area is the five-story pagoda, with its white facades and blue roofs. You may not realize it, but this building mimics an actual building, the Horyuji Temple in Nara. This building is more than 1,200 years old. It was one of the Seven Great Temples and is known as the Learning Temple. To this day, it’s still a monastery and seminary. It’s also one of the oldest wooden buildings in the known world.
The Epcot version of the pagoda isn’t an exact replica inasmuch as an homage. Disney Imagineers actually struggled with this pagoda, incorrectly using a Chinese style at first. A Japanese inspector pointed out that the original colors were too bright, the roofs were too angular, and the accessories were too ornamental. The muted nature of the pagoda that you see today reflects the changes made to bring the structure in line with Japanese customs from the era of the Horyuji Temple.
The other icon that signifies you’re within sight of the Japan Pavilion is the Torii gate. This gorgeous gate has a series of red columns that join together to provide a support for the curved piece at the top of the gate. The entire structure rests in the water, a tribute to the Itsukushima Island gate in Japan that inspired it. For this reason, the gate actually includes a nice touch. When you examine it up-close, you’ll notice that barnacles are at the bottom of the gate, just as is true of the Itsukushima Island one that resides in salty waters.