Over two years ago, the Finnish Ambassador to Japan announced that a Moomin theme park was being developed in Japan with the expected opening date in 2015. Some of our readers might be asking, “What the heck is a Moomin?” but these hippo-like fairies who originated in Finland have a very strong following and fan base in Japan. You might not be familiar with Moomin before you come to Japan, but once you get here, you grow to welcome them at your dining table .
Well, it’s already halfway through 2015, and there is still no Moomin theme park ready to take our money. Or is there? There might be a forthcoming announcement that has us all in a tizzy.
Update: It has just been announced that the Moomin theme park – to be known simply as Metsä, the Finnish word for forest – will indeed be built in Saitama Prefecture! The people behind the project have announced that the Moomins will be taking up residence on the shore of Lake Miyazawa in Hanno City, a spot whose nature and surroundings are not dissimilar to Finland’s own Moomin World theme park.
The park will reportedly be divided into two sections – the “Moomin Zone” and “Public Zone”. The former will be filled with various Moomin-filled shops, restaurants and attractions, while the latter will be open to all members of the public for free. Metsä is due to open its doors in 2017. Happy news indeed, we’re sure you’ll agree!
Original story follows:
The characters from Moomin line up perfectly with the Japanese sensibilities of cute characters: they look like animals, have large eyes, and they have disproportional body shapes. Nevermind that they look like hippos, which are incredibly dangerous and scary in real-life, these fictional fairies are actually a very huggable bunch. There are already theme parks in Japan featuring a host of other franchises, so why isn’t there a Moomin theme park yet?
Rumors have been swirling recently that a Moomin theme park will be opening in Saitama Prefecture. While you can never completely trust rumors, there are plans for an official announcement in Japan regarding Moomin in the next few days, so it’s not surprising that information has leaked out.
▼ The main characters. We see many hippo-like creatures
A Moomin theme park in Saitama Prefecture would be fantastic for Moomin fans and Saitama, but strangely, there already is a Moomin Valley there. Located in Hanno City, the park is called Ageho no Kodomo no Mori Koen (or Dawning Children’s Forest Park) and it has a distinct motif taken from the Moomin world. A number of huts and cabins resemble those from the books and there is actually a sign in the park that designates it as a Moomin Residence.
▼ Moomin live here, or so they say
This particular park most likely falls short compared to what fans imagine when they think of a Moomin theme park though. Those who want to visit the land of Moomins can only go to Naantali, Finland, where Moomin World is a true park for children and fans of the series. There you can visit the five-story Moomin house.
Until the official announcement in a few days, perhaps in connection with the 70th anniversary of the franchise, we are only left to speculate if a Moomin theme park will open one day in Japan. If it does, where will it be and how long must we wait before we get our Moomin on?
Sources: Embassy of Finland official Twitter , Moomin official website
Images: Wikipedia , Moomin JP , 1000 Yen Parks , (Update images via Pouch )
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