Japan’s First Moomin Theme Park Opens In Saitama And It’s Totally Addictive
Finland's lovable trolls have finally found their permanent home in Japan
"The world is full of great and wonderful things for those who are ready for them." -Moomin Pappa
The Moominvalley Park, Japan’s first theme park dedicated to Tove Jansson’s adorable characters, finally opened its doors this March at the Metsa facility in Saitama’s Hanno city. Metsa is a lakeside forest facility with Nordic influence that is made up of two areas: the Metsa Village, a shopping and restaurant complex with an outdoor area with canoeing and adventure ropes, and now the Moominvalley Park, the long-anticipated new home of the troll family.
Moominvalley Park caters to all ages with multiple attractions and exhibitions perfect for a family outing, a day out with friends or date spot. I was lucky enough to check out the park at the press preview held right before the park opened to the public, and despite never being a Moomin fan (until now!), I found myself having a full day full of fun and adventures!
Stunning location and great access
The whole Metsa area is based in a beautiful area in Saitama with a lake surrounded by forest which perfectly represents the atmosphere of the original Moominvalley from the stories. The open space and fresh air is a great alternative to the hectic city life back in Tokyo.
The access to the park is also very convenient, especially if traveling from Ikebukuro Station, taking only 40 minutes on the Seibu Red Arrow Limited Express train to Hanno station and a 15-minute bus or 10-minute taxi ride to Metsa. And if traveling by car, there is a parking area which can be pre-booked online.
A spacious land of all wonders
When first arriving at the gates into the Moominvalley Park you will find large book-shaped gates and adorable Moomin characters waiting for your arrival. Once having officially entered into the world of those adorable trolls, you’ll first find yourself in the area called Poukama. Here you’ll find a gift store with Moominvalley Park exclusive merchandise and souvenirs, and the super cute and Instagram-friendly pancake cafe called Lettula, which serves a large variety of delicious sweet and savory pancake options to choose from in addition to other menu items.
If you continue walking along the linear path from Poukama you’ll find yourself into the second area of the park called Muumilaakso. This is the main area of the park and has a wide range of fun entertainment to enjoy, including the Moomin house tour, where visitors tour the life-sized home of the Moomin family.
Although it is a house tour, it is also interactive and has numerous magical objects and hidden secrets to find and experience. I highly recommend this tour to any big Moomin fans who have always dreamt to explore the big blue house their favorite Moomin family lives in.
Next door to Moomin’s house is a special theater that tells the story of the mischief Little Mi and how she came about living with the Moomin family. However, this is not your average theater show. Not only do you get to watch the short film, but there is also a possibility that you’ll be featured in it yourself as one of Little Mi’s siblings. I won’t spoil the details and will just tell you that this is such a fun recommendation for families and friends, so make sure you don’t miss it when you visit yourself!
The attraction I personally enjoyed the most is the 4D Morphing Moomin show at the Merenhuiske building. From the outside, the building looks like a large ship under construction. However, the inside is a large surrounding theater-type room where guests can sit and enjoy an “out of this world” digital morphing performance.
The whole room is being projected on with the cooperation of live objects and performers on the main stage, as well as other effects like wind and rain. It creates a perfectly realistic “magical life” vibe that literally makes you feel as if you’re part of the show. This show can be enjoyed by all ages and is something very few people may have experienced before.
Moominvalley Park caters to all ages with multiple attractions and exhibitions perfect for a family outing, a day out with friends or a date spot.
Also in the Muumilaakso area is a large stage where characters from the Moomin stories come to life and perform dramatic and fun live shows for free throughout the day.
A photo studio can also be found nearby to take photos with Moomin alongside an arcade area and food stalls.
In the corner of Muumilaakso, you will find a large three-story building called Kokemus which is the third area in the park. Kokemus (pictured below) is the exhibition building within the park where you can learn about the history and creations of the Moomin stories.
A lot of the exhibits you’ll see there are also interactive, making it fun for kids to play and learn.
Within Kokemus is also another gift store and a restaurant to stop by for a break. The restaurant serves up Nordic style dishes which subtly represent story characters and objects of the Moomin world making it a fun little puzzle for fans.
Lots of adrenalin, too
The fourth area of the park, which has the most confusing name, Yksinäiset Vuoret, is where the most adventurous attractions can be found. For the kids, there is a giant tree house playground and high ropes area where they can run around and play while discovering hidden Moomin treasures within.
For the older and brave-hearted, is a long zip line that flies right across the lake, down to the Metsa Valley and back from the top of the Osabisiyama mountain.
The Yksinäiset Vuoret area is also the most fun to explore as it is the most hidden away and filled with special objects and treasures to locate.
One of the best things about Moominvalley Park is the way it lets people discover adventures around the park — there are so many hidden joys inspired by Moomin that you can discover by simply wandering around and seeing what you can find. In a sense, it feels like you are given all the resources and left to unleash their potentials and discover their greatest strengths — that is why this place simply won’t leave you bored!
Some treasures are harder to find than others so you really need to keep a keen eye out. To discovering these small treasures look up high, down low and all the way around, look through holes, windows and over fences to see what you can find (hint, hint!)
Just remember that you’re on an adventure, but also have fun, sit back and relax when needed — which you definitely will need because you can easily spend the whole day here exploring.
There are so many hidden joys inspired by Moomin that you can discover by simply wandering around.
The Moominvalley Park is a wonderful new gem that definitely deserves your attention — with or without the kids, on a date or solo, it’s an undiscovered adventure land waiting for you to come and give it a try. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it immensely!
Address: Metsa, 327-6 Miyazawa, Hanno-shi, Saitama Prefecture
Access: Around 50 minutes from Ikebukuro Station via Seibu Red Arrow Limited Express and Bus/Taxi
Open: Daily, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Admission: ¥1,500 (Adults), ¥1,000 (Children over 4), Free for kids under 3.
Other Fees: 4D Ocean Orchestra ¥1,000, Little Mi’s Play Spot ¥700, Zip Line ¥1,500, Moomin House Tour ¥1,000. All activities are free for kids under 3.
Travel smart with Seibu Railway’s discount passes
If you’re heading to Moominvalley Park but also want to visit other spots in Saitama, Seibu offers two discount passes — the 1Day Pass and the 2Day Pass — which are hassle-free discount tickets that let you hop on and off all Seibu lines (excluding the Tamagawa Line) for a day or two, respectively, for the price of just ¥1,000 or ¥2,000 (for 2 days). You can use the pass to go to Chichibu, too, and see its stunning shibazakura coming up later in spring, or stop by at the Sayama Inariyama Prefectural Park on the way to Moominvalley Park during the hanami season. For more information on how and when to purchase the tickets, see here.