Japan has always ranked pretty high up in a lot of wanderlusts’ go-to list and it’s not really surprising either, with their superb variety of touristic places and tourist attractions, it makes sense for so many people – especially the adventurous ones, to want to come here.
Want to taste some fresh sushi? Hokkaido only has that kind of sushi! Or, if it’s too far away, fret not as Toyosu Market is there for those in Tokyo! Are you more into fashion instead? Well, there’s Ginza, Harajuku, Omotesando… and the list goes on! Into anime stuff? Akihabara is the place for you! Or are you more perhaps more interested in traditional Japanese culture? well, we have a whole lot of castles here, from Osaka to Matsumoto.
And last but not least, for those wanting to experience some theme park magic, Japan boasts of three internationally-renowned parks: Tokyo Disneyland & Sea, Universal Studio Japan, Fuji Q Highland. However, exactly a year ago, another theme park has opened its gates in the land of the rising sun – it is called the Moomin Valley Park and in this article, I will try to provide some interesting tidbits about Moomin and its themed park.
What is Moomin?
(Picture from Rights & Brands)
The Moomins are fictional characters invented by Tove Jansson. They exist in her books and comic strips, the Moomins stories. The Moomins are a family of white, hippopotamuses-like creatures with large eyes and small ears. Though they might not look like it, they are originally inspired by a rather famous Scandinavian folklore creature – the troll.
While the Moomin characters (Moominmomma, Moominpappa, Snork, Snorkmaiden, and Hemulen) generally wear something to indicate themselves, the main character, also called the Moomintroll is the only one to not sport any piece of accessory
In all of the nine Moomin series written by Tove, they tell the stories of the Moomins’ adventure with their friends, from their home in Moominvalley to other places in their world.
Due to their popularity, the Moomins have spread beyond comic strips and has since been the basis for theatre shows, TV series, animations, museums, cafes and even a theme park called the Moomin World in Finland (Although of course, the Moomin Valley is now here in Japan!).
Moomin Valley Park
(Picture from Metsä)
Due to the Moomins’ popularity in Japan, Japan has been chosen as the other location that Moomin and his family have to travel to and thus, gave rise to the Moomin Valley Park.
The themed park is located inside Metsä, Saitama and surrounded by nature. The Moomin Valley Park is designed according to the Moomin Valley in the book series. Some of the places featured include the Moominhouse, Bathing hut, Lighthouse.
Other, non-canon buildings are used to facilitate visitors such as Moomin’s stories and goods collections, Tove’s history rooms, restaurants, theatres, Moomin merchandise shops, and more.
Attractions & Activities
(Picture from Metsä)
The facilities at Moomin Valley Park is divided into four main areas for visitors to enjoy. The Gate of Beginning (はじまりの入り江), Moominhouse (ムーミン谷), KOKEMUS (コケムス), and Lonely Mountain (おさびし山). While adventuring through the park, visitors can enjoy the scenery, collecting story guides, watching shows, eating, shopping, playing walk rally, and more.
- The Gate of Beginning (はじまりの入り江)
The Gate of Beginning is the welcoming gate of the Moomin Valley Park. Tickets are sold here. The welcoming gate is in the form of a book-shaped entrance with Moomins characters portrayed. Close to the entrance, there is a pancake restaurant where visitors can have a taste of savory and sweet pancakes.
- Moominhouse (ムーミン谷)
In the Moominhouse area, visitors can visit various places from the Bathing Hut, which is adapted from Moominpappa’s hut to Emma’s Theatre, a stage where the Moomins are going to perform live performances. Besides the theatre, there are small shops selling foods and drinks, a photo studio to take some photos, and an arcade to play and win some prizes A personal recommendation of mine is the Little My’s Play Spot, where visitors can have interactive theatre shows which can be enjoyed by those of all ages.
- KOKEMUS (コケムス)
The KOKEMUS area is a three-floored building located on the left side of the Moominhouse. Inside of it, lies Moomin dining rooms, shops, and cafes. There are also exhibitions by Tove Jansson on display. Visitors can take their time and learn the history of the author, as well as the Moomin series’ characters.
- Lonely Mountain (おさびし山)
The Lonely Mountain is where the Hobgoblin’s Zipline, Hemulen’s Playground, astronomical observatory, lighthouse, and Snufkin’s Tent are located. While only visitors from the age of 12 can enjoy the zipline, small children can play at Hemulen’s Playground. Two spots I recommend? The photo spot at the astronomical observatory located near the playground and the lighthouse which Moomin’s family emigrated to in the series!
(Picture from Metsä)
Apart from the attractions of the Moomin Valley Park, visitors can also enjoy themselves at Metsä, a Nordic designed park and shopping plaza located right in front of the Moomin Valley Park. Visitors can enjoy various kinds of food from both Japanese and westerns origin.
Other activities can also be enjoyed here, such as shopping, camping, playing trampoline, canoeing, workshops, walking pets, or even just chilling in the natural views.
The Moomin Valley Park is located in Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture. Visitors can get access by trains and buses, personal cars, motorcycles, and bicycles. If you prefer to take the train, you can get there by using the Seibu Ikebukuro Line, the JR Hachiko, or the Kawagoe Line. Once you arrive at the train station, you will then either need to walk there or catch a bus that stops at Metsä.
The Moomin Valley Park opens from 10 AM to 8 PM every day except for some national holidays such as the new year in which opening hours can differ so be sure to check accordingly! Before entering the Moomin Valley Park, tickets must be purchased either online or at the entrance gate.
The tickets are separated into three types: entrance ticket, one-day pass, and night admission ticket. The entrance ticket and the night admission ticket have limitations on area accessibility and time. One-day pass, meanwhile, allows visitors to access all areas in the park.
If you happen to have bought yourselves the non-One-day pass tickets and would still like to get access to some restricted areas, you can simply buy the attractions common ticket after entering the park.
Prices vary for adults (twelve years old and above) and children (four to eleven years old), while children under the age of three can enter without any charges.
That’s all for the Moomin Valley Park! If you are planning to visit Japan during this time, don’t forget to keep this destination in mind! There is also a night illumination show called Winter Wonderland that they will perform until the end of winter (November 30, 2019 to March 8, 2020), so be sure to check em out!