THE 2005 WORLD EXPOSITION IN AICHI (ATT.JAPAN ISSUE 21)
The 2005 World Exposition in Aichi, Japan is the first Exposition of the 21st century and will be open to the world at Nagoya Eastern Hills from March 25th. In addition, and also helping to focus international attention on the Aichi region is the recently opened (Feb 17th 2005) Central Japan International Airport, the latest gateway to this part of Japan.
Aichi Prefecture is located at the center of the Japanese archipelago facing the Pacific Ocean and with a population of 7.21 million as of Nov. 1st, 2004 is the fourth most-populous prefecture in Japan following the Tokyo, Osaka and Kanagawa areas. Modern day Aichi consists of the one time Edo-era domains of Owari and Mikawa but now the seat of prefectural government and the economic hub of the region is Nagoya.
With a population of over 2 million, Nagoya is the fourth largest city in Japan. The region around Nagoya, one of the three major urban areas of the nation alongside Tokyo and Osaka helps drive Japan due to its economic prowess. Modernity aside however, the region’s past is still represented in the local saying of “Nagoya in Owari domain boasts its castle,'” (the Nagoya area was the Owari domain during the Edo Period) and was one of the three main branch family locations of the Tokugawa family.
The climate in Aichi is generally mild due to the offshore Kuroshio Current but the heat of Nagoya during summer should be considered when visiting and those who plan a visit to the World Expo this summer should be forewarned.
EXPO 2005 AICHI, Japan
The 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan will be held in the prefecture for a consecutive 185 days from March 25th to September 25th inc.
As the global society developed at an astonishing pace during the 20th century, and considering the remarkable progress of humanity in the fields of science, technology, transportation and information technology, the global interaction of peoples worldwide leads to this exposition’s main theme: “Nature’s Wisdom.” EXPO 2005 AICHI, Japan is an exposition that will focus the world’s attention on the global problems we all face and methods of improved co-existence with nature and each other for the 6 billion people who call earth home.
The Expo will be held at two venues on Nagoya Eastern Hills and areas included are Nagakute Town, Toyota City and Seto City.
Various national and corporate pavilions representing many nations of the world will be erected in the Nagakute Area while a sea of unspoiled greenery remains as the highlight of the Seto area.
Remembering the theme of co-existence with nature, the Nagakute area will also retain a rich sense of the untouched by utilizing an already present park and building pavilions on the site of former baseball stadiums and tennis courts while leaving nearby forests undeveloped. When walking around the venue the image will be one of “pavilions surrounded by nature” and in spite of the somewhat hilly terrain the venue is easy to walk through using the Global Loop, an elevated corridor with a circumference of 2.6km.
Both venues to be used during the exposition are located about 20 km east of Nagoya city center. Most people visiting will do so via the main rail hub that is Nagoya Station or the new Central Japan International Airport.
There are 3 ways to access the sites from Nagoya Station:
1) Ride the train from JR Nagoya Station on the Chuo Line to Bampaku-Yakusa Station on the Aichi Loop Line, transfer to a Linimo or shuttle bus from Bampaku-Yakusa Station bound for Bampaku-kaijo Station on the Tobu-Kyuryo Line. This terminal is located adjacent to the Nagakute area and will take about 50 minutes one-way.
2) Take a shuttle bus from JR Nagoya Station to the Nagakute area in around 40 minutes depending on traffic.
3) Take a subway train to Fujigaoka Station and transfer to the Linimo to reach Bampaku-kaijo Station on Tobu-Kyuryo Line – again in 50 minutes or so.
Considering the time required to reach the site, option two would appear preferable but traffic is a serious consideration in and near large Japanese cities and to that end, option three may take much longer, especially on weekends as visitors can use only the limited seating three-car Linimo from Fujigaoka Station. In option one you can use Linimo or a shuttle bus from Bampaku-Yakusa Station to the Nagakute area, and can also use a shuttle bus to reach the Seto area. Thus, as the flow of people from the station to the venues can be dispersed more easily via this route, it is the more recommended of the three.
Access from the airport has 2 possibilities:
1) Ride a train from the airport to Kanayama Station or Nagoya Station on the Meitetsu Line and transfer to a JR line train to reach Bampaku-Yakusa Station. Access from Bampaku-Yakusa Station is identical as that in #1 above.
2) Ride a train from the airport to Nagoya Station on the Meitetsu Line and transfer to a subway line. To access from Nagoya station, follow the same route as that detailed in #3 above.
Corporate Pavilions – a must-see
Maglev Vehicle “MLX01-1”
You can enjoy many attractions utilizing the very latest Japanese technology in the Corporate Pavilion Zone with 9 pavilions of major domestic companies and groups represented.
At JR Central Pavilion, visitors experience the high level of perfection the Superconducting Maglev has reached, surpassing the boundary of conventional railway systems. The pavilion exhibits a 3D theater and the Superconducting Maglev Vehicle “MLX01-1” that achieved the manned world-speed record of 581km/h. The Superconducting Maglev Technology Laboratory Zone offers an easy-to-understand introduction to the technology.
Performances in which high-tech robots play musical instruments at the Toyota Group Pavilion can be observed and “i-units” (future concept vehicles) will be shown during the Expo while in Wonder Circus-Electric Power Pavilion, an electric-car ride will take you through the wonderful world of “The Earth, Humanity, and Dreams.”
Next Generation Vehicles
The maglev linear motor car, nicknamed “Linimo,” will transport visitors to the Expo venues daily. Within the venue, the Intelligent Mutimode Transit System (IMTS) is operated. This next generation transportation system developed by Toyota can run without a driver. In addition, fuelcell hybrid buses will operate between the two venues.
Various robots from different companies will be at the Expo. Some will play musical instruments, others have the ability to interpret and clean up after themselves or others and while a display of such cutting-edge technology may seen out of sync with the theme of “Nature’s Wisdom,” it is on display for a valid reason – that being that the people of today and tomorrow can use such technology in their quest for true co-existence with nature.
Pavilions from 122 countries and 6 international organizations will stand in the Global Commons. The Global Commons are divided into 6 areas with the region based on continental geography. For 185 days those present will have the chance to meet people from various cultures, try food from all over the world and learn to respect yet ignore the differences of race, religion and culture. During the Expo national days will be held when different events and ceremonies from the country of the day can be enjoyed.
The project to unearth an adult mammoth said to have died about 18,000 years ago and to then display the intact beast still frozen is underway with a joint Russian-Japanese effort ongoing. Displaying a complete adult mammoth will be a world first and is planned to take place in the Global House.
Central Japan International Airport – Centrair
The biggest talking point topic in Japan’s Tokai District in early 2005, along with the upcoming Expo is the recent (Feb 17th) opening of the new Central Japan International Airport, Centrair. This 470 hectare offshore airport is located about 30 minutes from the center of Nagoya and is to be found just offshore from Tokoname City. Being positioned approximately at the center of the Japanese mainland, it is a convenient point from which to access any corner of the nation.
The main feature of Centrair is the ease with which those passing through can link both their international and domestic flights. As both overseas bound and locally bound carriers are to be found in the same terminal even first time visitors can utilize these connecting flights with absolutely no trouble in order to reach their final destination. Domestic flights currently number 94 per day to 24 cities and thus offer more travel scope than many other airports throughout Japan.
Japan’s First Airport Observatory Bath
The amusement facilities in Centrair are worthy of special mention. A bath with a wonderful view is available for public use in the terminal building with such an option for tired travelers a first in Japan’s many airports. To enjoy the landscape of Ise Bay as well as watching planes continually landing and taking off from behind the warmth of the huge 20 meter-wide window as you soak in a bath will be a unique experience indeed.
In addition, Chochin-yokocho, an area that reminds people of an old Japanese post-station town has been constructed on the fourth floor of the building to enable those passing through the chance to enjoy the good old days as they wait for their flights.
A visit to the Nagoya would not be complete without some sightseeing. Recom-mendations include the following:
Nagoya Castle, a one-time residence of the Tokugawa family of the Owari clan was built in 1612 by order of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The main donjon was burnt down during World War II and was reconstructed in 1959. The golden dolphins (Kinshachi) sat atop the roof are the modern day symbols of Nagoya. The Kinshachi are now removed from the roof and will be displayed at ground level between March 19th and June 19th. The 1st through 5th floors of the donjon are used as exhibition rooms and a view of the whole of Nagoya from the top of the donjon is the highlight of a visit to the castle.
The Tokugawa Art Museum
Articles handed down through the generations of the Owari branch of the Tokugawa Family are retained within this museum and center stage is a fine collection of swords, said to be among the best such collections in the world.
Arimatsu is known as an area for the local trade of Arimatsu-shibori (Arimatsu tie-dyeing). Centered in an old town on the famous Tokaido road, it is also the site of the Arimatsu Shibori Festival – held annually on the first Saturday and Sunday of June.
The high donjon of Inuyama Castle overlooks the bank of the Kisogawa River and is the oldest surviving original donjon in Japan, a feature earning it status as a national treasure. You can see the Kisogawa River, the Nobi Plain and Mt. Ibukiyama from the observatory level in the castle.
The Museum of Meijimura
Buildings from the Meiji-era (1868-1912), the start of the modern age of Japan, are preserved and exhibited in reconstructed form in this museum. Feel as if you are traveling through time as you drink coffee at the former Teikoku (Imperial) Hotel – a famous Tokyo landmark designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The origin of Tokonameyaki, a form of ceramics, dates back to the 12th century. With many potteries and kilns in the town it has a real feel as an olde worlde yet somehow modern town of pottery.
The Owari Tsushima Tenno Matsuri (festival) is one of the three major river festivals of Japan. With its 500-year history it is held on the fourth Saturday and Sunday of July each year and with the river as a backdrop, looks like a beautiful picture-postcard scene.
Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
This museum is the birthplace of the world famous Toyota Group. On display are exhibits highlighting the history of industry and technology with a special emphasis placed on textile machinery and the automobile production technology developed by the Toyota Group. This is a major site of industrial tourism in Japan.
Excursions from Nagoya
Tsumago and Magome are post-station towns on the old Nakasendo road and are located in the mountains outside Nagoya. A row of old houses preserved as they have stood for many generations retains an atmosphere of years now forgotten.
Takayama is an old town near Nagoya and is sometimes called “Little Kyoto.” The Takayama Festivals in spring and fall attract a number of tourists as well as climbers who climb in the nearby mountains during summer.
Shirakawa-go is a world heritage-listed village. A severe place to spend the winter as it is covered with deep snow, the imposing and stately Gassho-zukuri houses remain erect and proud in this now unique village.
Ise / Shima
Ise Jingu consists principally of the Naiku (Inner Shrine) with a 2000-year history of offering enshrinement to the goddess Amaterasu-omikami and the Geku (Outer Shrine) with a younger but still impressive life span of over 1500-years. The Geku is dedicated to the God of Agriculture (which now incorporates modern industry). Mikimoto Pearl Island and the Toba Aquarium are both located along the nearby Toba Bay in an area known for its beautiful scenery and delicious seafod.
Koyasan and Kumano Kodo
Koyasan, a monastic complex in Wakayama Prefecture, is the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism. The center of the sect is the Kongobuji Temple and the two holy places of Danjogaran and Okunoin, also on Koyasan. A simple lunch known as Shojin Ryori (a traditional Buddhist style of food that does not contain meat or fish) is served at the 53 shukubo (temple lodgings) and is available to both day visitors and those staying on the mountain.
Kumano Kodo is the region’s road of pilgrimage many take to visit Kumano Sanzan (the three grand shrines of Kumano) in Hongu. While enjoying hiking and sightseeing, a walk in this range of mountains is just like walking in the heavens. Koyasan and Kumano have been registered as World Heritage “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range and the Cultural Landscapes that Surround Them” as of July, 2004.
A theme park, hot springs and various forms of marine leisure can all be enjoyed on and around Lake Hamanko.
Specialty Food in the Nagoya Area
The main three ingredients used in cooking Nagoya style dishes are chicken, eel and shrimp. Hitsumabushi is a dish of rice mixed with thinly sliced eel grilled in the nearby Kansai manner. Eaten primarily with negi (green onion), wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and dried laver seaweed, it is sometimes consumed with hot tea poured over it. Miso-Nikomi-Udon Noodles are thick elastic like noodles boiled thoroughly in haccyo-miso broth – a local specialty. Miso-katsu is another form of Nagoya cuisine and constitutes a sweet sauce made from red miso that is poured over katsu (deep-fried pork cutlets). The rich taste of the sauce is addictive. Kishimen, flat, chewy noodles are eaten in a warm soy sauce based soup topped with dried bonito flakes. Tebasaki is chicken wing tips abundantly coated in spices and deep-fried.
Any of these Nagoya area specialties are delicious and recommended – give the one that sounds best to you a try.