Moomin Theme Park to Open in Japan in 2017
posted on by Eric Stimson
Metsa, a theme park based on the Moomin franchise, is scheduled to open in Japan in 2017. After several years of searching, a suitable location has been found: Lake Miyazawa, which is located in a relatively undeveloped corner of Hannō, in Saitama Prefecture northwest of Tokyo. The park will be built on 187 km² (about 72 square miles) purchased from Seibu Railways.
As the land is primarily lake and forest, Metsa will emphasize nature and it will be built in harmony with it. (Metsä means "forest" in Finnish.) It will be divided into two zones: a free "Public Zone" with nature activities and lakefront restaurants and shops, and a "Moomin Zone" with more Moomin-centered facilities, like the Moomin house and an art museum. The lake and forest setting was chosen to evoke the scenery of Finland, and the restaurants will serve northern European food using natural ingredients. It will also be available for use in weddings.
A visualization of the park's lakefront property
According to Nobumitsu Tamai, representative director of FinTech Global, the company responsible for developing the park, "A land where forests and humans build richer relationships is truly appropriate for Moomin." Jaakko Lehtovirta, minister counsellor at the Finnish Embassy in Japan, praised the location for its lake and forests and cheered on Metsa, while disavowing any partnership between it and the Finnish Embassy.
Left to right: Lehtovirta, Moomin, Masaru Ōkubo (mayor of Hannō), Tamai, and Hisashi Wakabayashi (head of Seibu Railways)
Plans for the theme park were first announced in 2013 with an original opening date set for this year.
Moomin began in 1945 as a series of children's books written in Swedish by Finnish author Tove Jansson, but has expanded over the decades into comics, films, animated TV series, and a theme park in Naantali, Finland. Its cute main characters, the Moomins, have gained the franchise a sizable fanbase in Japan, and many of the animated series were produced in Japan.