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!




Comments

Tom Inokashira 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 . . .
Tom Inokashira said…
Gotta find a way to get this downloaded onto my tablet for permanent access. Therapy!

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