japan pavilion expo 2020
Your visit will be part of a 60-minute guided tour in a group of 30 Image Credit: Supplied

Looking for reasons to put the Japan Pavilion on your Expo planner? For starters, there is a bread train you can see and a sushi train you can eat. Scratch your head not, we’ve handpicked all the cool things that will definitely make to your next Instagram reel.

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Where is the Japan Pavilion?

The pavilion is located near Al Forsan Park, one of the two parks at Expo 2020 Dubai. This is the wing tucked between the Opportunity and Sustainability districts. If you are across the site or in a different district, board the free People Mover shuttle near the main gates that will drop you off at Al Forsan.

japan pavilion expo 2020 dubai
Japan Pavilion and its restaurant at Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Every visitor is a guest inside this pavilion. Instead of filing in and out at random, visitors are grouped into batches of 30 for an hour-long guided tour. So be prepared to wait for your turn – admire the shallow pool it overlooks, click a few pictures in front of its origami-inspired exterior and cool off.

What can you do here?

Cultural immersion happens on a whimsical, futuristic plane here. Get familiar with concepts integral to the Japanese way of life through three exhibits and a bite at the pavilion’s restaurant.

1. Mitate art: Imagine tiny figurines sunbathing on a skin-tone makeup palette, or a tsunami wave made of blue and white dominoes. An entire section at the Japan Pavilion called ‘Innovation’ has several of these whimsical artworks made by photographer and miniature artist Tatsuya Tanaka. Visitors coming in this weekend on Friday (December 3) can meet the artist himself at 10.30am.

japan pavilion expo 2020
Artist Tatsuya Tanaka's mitate artworks Image Credit: Supplied

‘Mitate’, which literally means to see anew, is a genre of Japanese art where perception is challenged. Tanaka presents mundane scenes using unexpected objects like a city train made of bread rolls and spaceships made of upended coffee cups.

2. Omotenashi: The Japanese believe in a hospitality so genuine that they remove their ‘public’ face, as the term suggests. It all comes from the heart. You will experience ‘omotenashi’ in the pavilion as soon as you are handed a mobile device, flashing a flower species unique to you. In Japan, guests are often welcomed with a seasonal floral tapestry called the ‘kakejiku’.

japan pavilion expo 2020
The pavilion staff will aid you in setting up your mobile device Image Credit: Supplied

Wear the earphones provided and fill in your details on the device – preferred language, where you are from and age. By the end of the tour, this handy guide notes down what you like and which of the world’s issues concern you the most.

3. Avatar: In the last section, your flower turns into an animated avatar around a 360-degree theatre. It walks when you walk, jumps whenever you jump, presenting the choices you made along your journey in infographics.

japan pavilion expo 2020
The last leg of your journey Image Credit: Supplied

4. Sushiro’s sushi belt: If you’re still waiting for your turn, grab a quick bite at the pocket friendly sushi restaurant adjacent to the pavilion. Plates of tuna-, prawn- and salmon-nigiri sushi go around on a conveyor belt for the picking. For the cheapest plate, you only have to shell out Dh7, while a hearty bowl of ramen costs up to Dh25. Top it off with a delicious scoop of matcha ice cream priced at Dh9.

japan pavilion expo 2020
Sushiro restaurant Image Credit: Supplied