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The World Awaits the Opening of EXPO 2005 (November 18, 2004)

Morizo and Kiccoro
The mascots for EXPO 2005 (Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition)
Less than six months remain until the opening of the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan, on March 25, 2005. The theme of this Expo, which is expected to draw some 15 million visitors from around the world to the Nagoya area in central Japan, is "Nature's Wisdom." A total of 122 countries and 7 international organizations, as well as many nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations, have so far announced their participation, and expectations for the event are high. Preparations are in full swing to make the first World Exposition of the twenty-first century something that is educational and enjoyable for both children and adults. Pavilions were handed over to the participating countries at a ceremony on September 14, and more than 80% of the construction has been completed.

Bringing "Nature's Wisdom" to Life
One of the challenges inherent in such an event is to make it both meaningful and entertaining, and it appears that the organizers and participants in EXPO 2005 have risen to the challenge. The experience begins even before visitors arrive at the venue in the Nagoya Eastern Hills, as they will make the final leg of the journey by "Linimo," a futuristic linear motor car that floats above the rails using magnets and is very environmentally friendly. Inside the venue, visitors will be transported via the driverless vehicles of the Intelligent Multimode Transport System.

Once there, people will be dazzled and entertained by an incredible variety of attractions. From musical performances given by such luminaries as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and soprano Sarah Brightman to robots that will greet and guide visitors, EXPO 2005 is an event that will reach people on every level imaginable. Children in particular will be moved by the official mascots for EXPO 2005, two forest sprites named Morizo, who is the forest grandfather, and Kiccoro, who is the forest child.

Exhibits That Appeal to All the Senses
Much thought has gone into the creation of exhibits that will both entertain and educate visitors about nature and the environment. Among the many attractions are the world's first spherical imaging system, Japan Pavilion Nagakute, which will reveal in detail the present state of the Earth, and a re-creation of the house where Satsuki and Mei lived in Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro), the animated masterpiece of Academy Award-winning director Miyazaki Hayao, which will allow visitors to experience the slow and peaceful life typical of long-ago Japan, where people lived in harmony with nature.

The exhibits put on by the participating countries, meanwhile, will transport visitors to places all around the globe. The pavilion of Nepal, for example, is a stunning re-creation of a Nepalese Buddhist temple crafted by some 200 artisans from that country. The pavilion of Germany, meanwhile, features a ride that will take visitors through the exciting world of biotechnology. Many of the national pavilions will also be serving cuisine typical of their country, so visitors to EXPO 2005 will enjoy an unprecedented range of dining options.

Not limited to countries and international organizations, many corporations are taking part in EXPO 2005 with exhibits of their own. These private-sector participants are offering such attractions as a giant Ferris wheel that forms an integral part of an exhibition, a large-scale ride that will take people through the world of dreams, and a thrilling live performance based on the concept of "flame."

The Wonders of Aichi Prefecture
Along with Tokyo and Osaka, Aichi Prefecture is one of the major hubs of economic activity in Japan, and it is the home of Toyota Motor Corp. and several other major companies. In addition, the region has played a major role in Japanese history, and it contains many historical remains and artifacts. It was the area where the Owari branch of the Tokugawa clan prospered, and Nagoya houses the Tokugawa Art Museum.

Aichi's central location also makes it an ideal stopping-off place for tourists looking to visit other parts of Japan. Nearby Aichi are Ise Shrine, which is one of Japan's most famous shrines, Shirakawa-go and Kumano, which are registered as World Heritage sites, and perhaps the most famous icon of Japan, Mt. Fuji. And this part of Japan will become even more convenient to visit when the Central Japan International Airport opens on February 17, 2005. Visitors who come for EXPO 2005 will find that there is plenty to see both inside and outside the EXPO venue.

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Related Web Sites
2005 World Exposition
Tokugawa Art Museum

Copyright (c) 2004 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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