Mitsukoshi in Epcot – Sake Tasting

Mitsukoshi-EntranceOur love for World Showcase is indescribable – The whole being so much greater than the sum of its parts.  One of the very best of those individual parts is and always has been the Japan pavilion’s Mitsukoshi Department Store.  More than a shop – it’s a destination on its own – worth making time for or planning in advance.  Spend some time in this fantastic building and tell me if you don’t agree – what cool merchandise!  Amazing sights, sounds, tastes!  Fabulous service – excellent Cast Members!  And sake tasting.  Did I mention the sake tasting?Japan-Epcot

Sake is an adult beverage.  Referred to as rice wine, sake is actually brewed more like beer, but has a unique flavor unlike anything else.  We like sake with sushi and other Asian dishes, but until recently knew only basic sake info and had no idea it came in so many different kinds.  We learned all about Sake in Mitsukoshi at the Sake Bar.Mitsukoshi-Sake-Bar-Cast-Member

Way in the back of the store is the coolest room devoted to Japanese food, snacks, candy, and beverages – including Sake.  I highly recommend a stop into this very impressive corner…in fact, here are five reasons you should give it a try…

Mitsukoshi in Epcot – Sake Tasting

Enjoy Delicious Sake – There are choices aplenty.  Raymond chose something dry.  I chose my sake strictly on the fact that it contained gold flakes.  It just seemed so exotic and decadent!  I couldn’t pass it up.

Learn Something New – We picked up quite a bit of information just listening to the couple next to us ask questions.  The patient and knowledgeable Japanese Cast Member knew her sake!  Basically, she explained this, but with gracious loveliness and flair.Mitsukoshi-Sake-Menu3

It’s Economical – Unlike most pubs or lounges, this walk-up counter does not accept gratuities.  The price you see is what you pay and for less than $10 per serving, the entire experience is worth the price.Mitsukoshi-Sake-Menu

It’s Fun and Relaxing – This is actually not the place to take a load off since you stand at the counter, but stopping for a few minutes to be adventurous felt very relaxing.  We meandered through Mitsukoshi making our way to the sake bar and back out to World Showcase again.  We spent about 30 minutes there and loved every minute.  What a welcome break from the crazy World Showcase crowds!Mitsukoshi-Sake-Selection

Shop!  Mitsukoshi has a staggering array of goods.  From the pick-a-pearl counter to the knives and swords, the clothing, jewelry, home goods, bonsai trees, tea sets, chop sticks…and so much more.  Want to know more?  Read all about it here.

Have you visited the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Epcot?  What’s your favorite section? Did you know about the sake bar?  Is it something you’d try?

Epcot’s Japan Pavilion – 5 Great Things to Enjoy

IMG_2971Epcot’s World Showcase!  The opportunity to visit 10 foreign countries without leaving Disney World and you don’t need a passport.  Circling the World Showcase Lagoon, each country’s pavilion holds wonderful surprises, beautiful details, and educational opportunities for all ages.

Nestled serenely between The American Adventure and the Moroccan Pavilion, is Japan.  A tidy cluster of buildings surrounding a central courtyard, the Japanese Pavilion offers visitors unique shopping and dining experiences (among my most favorite in the World) and opportunities to be entertained by unique Japanese demonstrations.

If you haven’t yet taken advantage of all there is to see and do in Epcot’s Japan – here are 5 IMG_0936reasons to go:

1.  Mitsukoshi Department Store – this place is awesome and HUGE!  The building’s outside is a replica of sections of Japan’s Imperial Palace, but the inside is an incredible, modern store packed with a stunning array of Japanese items – toys, books, clothing, games, swords and knives, kitchen items (sushi-making supplies!), pick-a-pearl (you select the oyster and a Japanese Cast Member will open it and retrieve your treasure), and much more.  Do take time to visit this place – it’s amazing!  Joseph once bought an gorgeous Japanese sword there and had it shipped home – service was perfect, sword arrived safe and sound.

IMG_20052.  The Food (and Beverage).  Three dining options, all delicious – chopsticks optional!

  • Teppan Edo offers guests hibachi-cooked meals where your meal’s preparation is as entertaining to watch as it is tasty to eat.  Beef, chicken, seafood (alone or as part of a combination) are served with fresh vegitables and rice.
  • Tokyo Dining – if you enjoy tempura or sushi, this is the place.  Diners enjoy traditional Japanese fare in a classy, modern setting.
  • Katsura Grill is a quick / counter service option offering a wide variety of Japanese dishes.  Dine inside our enjoy the gardens in the beautiful outdoor seating area.

3.  The Japanese Art Display in Bijutsu-kan Gallery – Learn how Japan’s cultural history gave rise to some of today’s most popular cartoon and video game characters.

4.  The Entertainment

  • Matsuriza is an impressive show featuring taiko – a form of drumming.  I’ve only seen (heard?) this one from a distance – it absolutely merits a closer look / listen.
  • Miyuki – Displaying her skills since 1996, Miyuki’s demonstration involves making artwork out of a piece of rice candy – the candy starts off as a soft ball which hardens as Miyuki forms it into a fanciful masterpiece.  I’ve seen this up close – prepare to be amazed!

5.  Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure.  Pick up your “Interactive Evil Detection Device” calledIMG_0937 F.O.N.E. (Field Operative Notification Equipment) at one of three different Epcot locations and get busy on your mission.  Join Agent P as you receive clues you must solve to foil the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz.  Your mission will lead you through several different countries (7 possible) as you stamp out evil and save the world!  Complete details here.

If you’ve overlooked the Japan Pavilion on a previous visit to Epcot or you’re headed to Disney World for the first time, be sure to slow down for a few minutes and appreciate all this incredible spot along the World Showcase has to offer.