Big Bird and his faithful dog Barkley have traveled to Japan. But before they can do much, they get lost from their tour! Now they're stuck in Japan, can't speak Japanese, and don't know how to get back to the United States. Luckily, Big Bird and Barkley meet a nice stranger, who offers to take them to meet up with their tour in Kyoto, because it just so happens that she's going there too.
On their way to Kyoto, Big Bird and friends partake of the rich Japanese culture. They eat in an authentic Japanese restaurant, spend a night in a real Japanese house, visit Mt. Fuji, spend some time at a Japanese elementary school, and ride the Shinkansen (bullet train).
Despite the fact that this show is for young children, there is actually a lot of useful information about Japan in it. There is a song about common Japanese sayings, a segment on the appropriateness of bowing to greet someone, how to use hashi (chopsticks), common house etiquette (removing shoes), and even a play about the legend of Kaguya Hime (Bamboo Princess).
While some of the concepts are simple, overall, this hour-long movie is an excellent "musical adventure for the whole family", that's great for kids, and even kind of funny for older audiences. The movie really has it all: four original musical numbers, Muppets, Japan, and even the voice of Pat Morita. I highly recommend it!
Other Sesame Street Specials include:
Big Bird in Japan was written, directed and produced by Jon Stone.