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 – Mitsukoshi Department Store

Epcot's Japan PavilionI’m planning to write an article about my favorite stores in Walt Disney World – so I started thinking about them – where they’re located, what type of merchandise they carry, and why I love them.  I’m still going to write that post, but in the middle of all that thinking….I couldn’t get my mind off the ONE most fantastic store in the World.  It really deserves its very own place in the limelight – without being grouped in with other great, but, let’s face it, lesser…or maybe I should say, more mainstream or ordinary stores.

If you’ve visited Walt Disney World but passed up the opportunity to visit the Mitsukoshi Plush Toys in Matsukoshi / Epcot's JapanDepartment Store in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion – I can understand how that could happen, but I need to…well…point out the error of your ways.  The store isn’t out there, up front with attractive window displays designed to draw you in.  The understated entrance gives no hint of the riches to be found inside – a treasure trove of unimaginable variety.  Do NOT pass through the World Showcase without taking at least a few minutes to look around at this huge and fascinating collection of Japanese goods!  I’ve been in Mitsukoshi many times, but every time feels like the first – and I always discover some new section I didn’t know existed.

Believe me, I’m not exaggerating or building this up for a good story.  Unless you’ve had the Shopping for Socks in Epcot's Japanchance to visit Japan (the actual country), I cannot believe you wouldn’t be impressed and, dare I say, enthralled by the enormous selection of unique merchandise within this building!  All the things you would expect to find are there – and so much more!!!  Traditional Japanese shoes and clothing?  Yes.  Incense, teas and teapots, chopsticks, swords, and fans?  Check!  Hello Kitty, Pokémon, Sanrio, Domo tees and collectibles – they’ll fix you up!  Tabi socks, books and jewelry – it’s all there!  But there’s also so much more!

The Pick a Pearl counter allows you to choose a live oyster from a tank for a Cast Member tBonsai Trees in Epcot's Japan Paviliono open for you…and retrieve your pearl!  You can have it made into a piece of jewelry right then and there or take it with you as is.  Ever wanted a Bonsai Tree of your very own?  The have a tiny forest from which to make your selection.  Too hard to take it home?  Buy a Bonsai seed kit instead!  Curious about Japanese food, candy and soft drinks?  Go wild in an entire room full of every imaginable snack, sweet, cracker – if you’re having a hankering for some shredded dry fish?  Not to worry!  They have that too (and it tastes better than you’d think)!

Mitsukoshi Department Store SnacksOne of Joseph’s favorite things to do at Walt Disney World is to take his time at Mitsukoshi and pick out a variety of Japanese packaged foods to try.  So much there is unlike anything we’ve ever had before!  At this point, he’s been to the store enough to have some favorites he’ll buy each time we visit.  Last week while we were there, he enlisted Megan’s assistance in picking out some new and different snacks (I even got to pick out something!).  Some of the candy looked so strange but was surprisingly tasty!  The descriptions on most packaging are completely in Japanese – so you’re pretty much guessing what you may be getting based on pictures and/or what the candy or snack looks like.  The mystery of it is what makes choosing treats so much fun!   Our Loot!  Japanese Snacks from Mitsukoshi

There is literally something for everyone at Mitsukoshi and if it’s souvenirs you’re after – you’re guaranteed to find special and unique treasures for everyone on your list!

Have you been to Mitsukoshi?  What did you think?

Mitsukoshi Department Store in Epcot

Godzilla Tee at MitsukoshiAdorable Plush in Mitsukoshi