The Moominvalley Park (ムーミンバレーパーク) is a theme park about the Moomin characters created by Finnish author and artist Tove Jansson. Opened in March 2019 about 40 kilometers northwest of Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture, the theme park is the first one outside of Finland and offers visitors a look into the world of the author and her creation. Among the many series and movies that have been created about the Moomins over the years, a Japanese animation TV series made the hippopotamus-like characters particularly popular in Japan.
The Moominvalley Park combines both nature and entertainment about how the Moomins live in harmony with their environment. The park is modeled after the Moomin world and consists of four zones along the shores of a lake: the Welcome Cove at the entrance, the Moominvalley with most of the main attractions, the Kokemus exhibition facility, and the forested Lonely Mountain.
There are a number of paid attractions that are not covered by the admission ticket, including tours of the Moominhouse, Little My's Attraction, the Oshun Oxtra Theatre and the Hobgoblin's Zipline. Tickets to these attractions for specific time slots can be purchased online together with the admission tickets or on the day itself from ticket machines near the attractions. Note that on busy days, same-day tickets may sell out, and it is advisable to purchase them in advance.
Among the attractions that do not require additional fees are an outdoor theater where shows featuring some of the main characters are held, and Kokemus, a three-story museum about the various Moomin characters and stories, their development and the author Tove Jansson. An outdoor playground is located at the top of Lonely Mountain, while small landmarks from various Moomin stories can be found scattered around the park.
There are also two restaurants, a cafe and some food stands at Moominvalley Park. Visitors may find long lines at the restaurants on busy days, and the alternative would be dining at the restaurants just outside the theme park. Re-entry into the park is allowed as long as you get a re-entry stamp on exiting. Official Moomin merchandise can be purchased at various shops across the park, and the store on the ground floor of the Kokemus building is the world's largest Moomin store.
Outside the paid area of Moominvalley Park lies the Metsä Village. Visitors pass through it in order to get to the entrance of the theme park. The village offers various dining and shopping options with an emphasis on the Nordic experience. Chairs provide for comfortable outdoor seating in the village from where visitors can enjoy the view of Lake Miyazawako and the surrounding forest. Activities available in the village include rowing boat rentals and woodcraft workshops.
Moominvalley Park is located approximately halfway between central Tokyo and Chichibu along the Seibu Ikebukuro Line. The closest stations to the park are Hanno Station and Higashi-Hanno Station. The latter is also served by the JR Hachiko Line.
By Seibu Railway
The one way journey from Ikebukuro to Hanno Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line takes about 50 minutes and costs 480 yen. Limited express trains cut the travel time to 40 minutes and cost 980 yen one way. Frequently departing buses connect Hanno Station with the Metsä (メッツァ) bus stop outside the Moominvalley Park (15 minutes, 200 yen one way). Some of the buses are shuttles that stop only at the station and the park, while others are bound for Musashi-Takahagi Station and stop at Metsä and several other stops along the way.
By Japan Railways (JR)
Access by JR is more time-consuming and less convenient, but can be of interest to holders of the Japan Rail Pass, JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass, JR East Tohoku Area Pass, JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass and JR Tokyo Wide Pass.
Take the JR Chuo Line and JR Hachiko Line via Hachioji or Haijima stations to Higashi-Hanno Station (around 70 minutes, 990 yen one way from Shinjuku). From there, take the bus bound for Metsä (メッツァ, 15 minutes, 200 yen one way, not covered by the JR passes, 1-2 buses/hour).
Take the Seibu Chichibu Line from Seibu-Chichibu Station to Hanno Station (around 50 minutes, 410 yen one way). Limited express trains cut the travel time to 40 minutes and costs 810 yen one way. From there, take a bus to Metsä (see bus details under "By Seibu Railway" above).