Moomin Valley Coming To Hanno, Saitama!?

Well, actually, Hanno City already has a small theme park for kids, centered on the wonderful world of Tove Jansson, the Finnish writer who created the Moomin "trolls" and their special valley, the Akebo-Children-Forest-Park.

But now, Seibu Railways will sell their land at Lake Miyazawa and let a company develop the beautiful area around my favourite spot for walking and getting some forest time - a must for a Swede!

The theme park will have a public space and a theme park space - and I really hope they will continue to allow free access around the entire lake. I also hope the plan to attract visitors using the "Nordic" theme will not just be PR, but a sincere effort. Hanno City has some great Eco-Tourism initiatives and the amount of people showing up to do long hikes and walks through the Oku-Musashi hills around here is encouraging... Recently the Yama-Osusume anime also helped introduce people to Hanno, Saitama.

A theme park at my favourite lake... Well, trust me, I have mixed feelings but at least it's better than yet another golf course. The investment company bought some 187,000 sq m from Seibu Railways, and thankfully, they only plan to build on 307 sq m. Clearly, keeping the forest around Lake Miyazawa must be a priority. Here is their business plan (E, pdf). This is the first Moomin Theme Park in the world, outside of Finland.

Interesting drone video from Lake Miyazawa (actually a dam, built in the 1930s):

News about the development from Tokyo Keizai Online (J): ムーミンパークが"埼玉の奥地"を選んだワケ

I like how they emphasize that you can get here without using a car!

The theme park will be called Metsä, which is Finnish for "forest" - actually Tove Jansson was Swedish-speaking, and the books about the Moomins were initially published in that language. Actually, while alive, she was very antagonistic to attempts to commercialize the characters she created... I wonder what she would have thought about the "official Moomin page" here in Japan!

More about Hanno's links to Moomin (J).

Bonus video - if you can't wait for the above, do bring the kids to Hanno City's Abebo no Kodomo no Mori Koen, and the amazing Moomin Houses here!


Unknown said…
There is already a golf course by/adjoining the lake, amigo.

As long as they don't 'touch' any of it and can still walk round the lake all will be well.
Martin J Frid said…
Indeed! The walk around the lake is key.

Trying to find out if they are doing this legally, with the required environmental assessment, a process that should include a public hearing. Or not . . .
Unknown said…
Gotta find a way to get this downloaded onto my tablet for permanent access. Therapy!

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