This Theme Park in Japan Is Every Moomin Fan’s Dream Come True
There's so much to see!
Metsa, 327-6 Miyazawa, Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture
Open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
How to get there: It’s right at the Metsa Bus Stop. It is a 13-minute bus ride from Hanno station or a 12-minute bus ride from Higashi Hanno Station.
The Moominvalley Park opened in Hanno City, Saitama, with some areas situated at Metsa, while the other sections, located at the European-themed park called Metsa Village. This park showcases a real-life Moomin world with various attractions based on the popular children’s story.
Here’s a first-hand look at the exciting Moomin dreamworld:
Four gates at the Welcome Cove.
The Moominvalley Park is divided into four main areas. The Welcome Cove, POUKAMA, is the entrance area. There, you’ll find several gates with Moomin characters drawn on them, a restaurant where you can enjoy delicious pancakes, and a gift shop called the Alku Kauppa. You can buy souvenirs from the shop upon entrance in the park, before going home, or even during your rest time.
Reservation is needed to join the tour inside the Moominhouse.
After passing through POUKAMA, you’ll arrive at MOOMILAAKSO (Moominvalley), which is the main attraction in the park. It consists of the Emma Teatteri (Emma’s Theatre), where Moomin and the other characters interact with guests during performances, the Moomitalo (Moominhouse), which depicts the daily life of the characters, and the Merenhuiske (Oshun Oxtra Theatre), which is a boat-shaped theater that lets you experience Moominpappa’s adventures.
Exhibition facility, KOKEMUS.
The third area is a three-story gallery beside the Moomitalo called the KOKEMUS (Exhibition Facility). Displayed here is a permanent exhibit that brings the Moomin story to life, with the world’s largest model of the Moominvalley standing at more than eight meters tall.
Aside from the permanent exhibit, there are also special exhibits that are available for a limited time only. One of them is the commemorative exhibit, Tove Jansson and Moomin Exhibit, which will only be open until March 2020.
Restaurant Moomilaakso ruokala
Moreover, Moomilaakso Kauppa, the world’s largest Moomin goods shop and the park’s main shop, and a restaurant called Moomilaakso ruokala, can also be found in the largely commercial area.
Osabishi Yama (also known as “the lonely mountain”)
Upon climbing the slope from MOOMILAAKSO, visitors will be welcomed at the athletic area, YKSINAISET VUORET (Lonely Mountain). This place lets you enjoy various physical activities within nature such as climbing a treehouse at Hemulen’s Playground or riding a zip line over a lake at the Hobgoblin’s Zip Line.
To be able to enter the Moominvalley Park, visitors will have to pass through the Metsa Village, which is a free admission zone. The area around Lake Miyazawa, found in the middle of Metsa, is so wide that it takes a 10-minute walk from the entrance of the Metsa Village to the Moominvalley Park. This area has always been a favorite among the locals for field trips and hiking.
It also takes 10 minutes to walk from POUKAMA to the Lonely Mountain. There are no shortcuts in the park nor are the pathways in the Lonely Mountain cemented, so it’s advisable to wear comfortable shoes. You don’t necessarily have to wear a sporty outfit, but it’s best to avoid newly-bought or high-heeled footwear for your safety.
Ready to visit the Moominvalley Park? Here are some additional reminders for the best experience there:
It’s best to make advance reservations for tickets and parking space.
Moominvalley Park guests can reserve and buy tickets online at the official website. Reservations can be made until the end of the next two months. During the start of the month, you can already reserve your tickets on any day, two months before it gets full. If you have already picked a date for your visit, we recommend that you reserve your tickets in advance for a convenient and hassle-free trip.
You need to buy tickets on the same day of your visit for certain attractions.
Four attractions in the park require a special fee aside from the entrance ticket. These are the Oshun Oxtra Theatre, Little My’s Attraction, Hobgoblin’s Zip Line, and Moominhouse guided tour. The most famous among the four is the Moominhouse guided tour.
You can experience the Moomin characters’ lifestyles at the Moominhouse.
Visit during the afternoon if you want to avoid the peak hours.
Moominvalley Park is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Peak hours usually start upon the opening until lunchtime. If you simply want to enjoy the exhibit in the KOKEMUS area, dine in the restaurants, or buy something at the gift shops, then visiting in the afternoon is the best. You might even get a chance to relax at the pancake restaurant by yourself, which easily gets full of customers at noon.
Pets are allowed inside the Moominvalley Park.
In most theme parks, pets, food, and beverages from outside establishments are not allowed. However, in Metsa, the rules are not as strict. Visitors will feel as if they’re having a picnic when coming to Metsa.
Pets are allowed both at the Moominvalley Park and the Metsa Village. You can walk them there, too. However, they are not allowed to go inside the buildings, attractions, and the Emma’s Theatre area of the park (only service pets allowed).
There are lead hooks around the park so you can leave them outside and still enjoy the areas where pets are not allowed. Do not forget to put them on a leash upon entry and pick up their droppings, too.
Bringing food and drinks at the Metsa Village is possible, but not upon entry of the Moominvalley Park.
Visitors can go in and out of Metsa Village, too.
Food and drinks from outside establishments are not allowed inside the Moominvalley Park. For those who want to enjoy light snacks such as sandwiches or onigiri (Japanese rice ball) at Metsa, you can have your meals at the Metsa Village.
The Moominvalley Park allows re-entry, so once you get your entrance tickets, you can go back and forth from Metsa Village to the park whenever you please. At the Metsa Village, there are northern European-themed restaurants and popular local establishments that serve original cuisine where visitors can have their meals.
Don’t forget to drop by the Moominvalley Park’s gift shops.
The main shop, Moomilaakso Kauppa.
There are more than 1,000 items that can only be found in the world’s largest Moomin goods shop at the Moominvalley Park. Items differ in the seven goods shop in the park, which is why you’ll never get bored looking around.
Among the limited edition items, the most famous product is the Moominvalley Park limited edition ARABIA Mug. This item was such a huge bestseller that it had even gone out of stock a number of times within the first month of the park’s opening.
Moominvalley Park limited edition mugs by ARABIA
Look out for Moomin-related motifs in unexpected places.
Moomin statue near the entrance to the KOKEMUS area
Moomin-related displays can be found not only in attractions and exhibits, but also in the most unexpected locations around the park. Some of them include excerpts from the original novel, which can be spotted somewhere on the park benches, and statues based on illustrations in the novel, which are scattered in various areas.
The Moomin statue in front of the KOKEMUS area entrance holds a different flower every day. When you pass by it, try to notice what it’s holding.
In addition to this, you might also come across characters such as Snufkin leisurely strolling the park. The Moominvalley can be viewed from different angles -- one from the second-floor terrace seats of KOKEMUS and the other from the Lonely Mountain.
Lines from the novel written on park benches
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (9 April 2019)