A ground-breaking ceremony was held on Friday for a 24ha Japanese theme park based on the Moomin books of Finish author Tove Jansson.
The ceremony took place near the city of Hanno in Saitama Prefecture, about 40km northwest of Tokyo. It was attended by Jukka Siukosaari, Finland’s ambassador to Japan. The Metsa park will be located in a forest and will be grouped around an artificial lake.
Work on the park had been scheduled to begin in 2015, but had to be delayed owing to difficulties in locating a site and the need to factor in infrastructural work. The attraction is expected to open in the spring of 2019.
Metsa (the Finnish word for "forest") will follow the same concept as the world’s only other Moomin amusement park, in Naantali in south-west Finland. The author Jansson gave her blessing to the Naantali attraction on the grounds that it would exemplify the spirit of her books by being close to nature, made entirely of stone and wood and without a traditional theme park’s rides.
A concept design for the blue Moomin House (Moomin.com)
Even more radical, entrance to the Moomin village will be free.
What Metsa will have is a lot of characters from the books, such as Moominmamma, Little My, Too Ticky, Hemulen and Snok Maiden who inhabit the Moominhouse, Sniff’s Summer Cottage, the Snork’s Workshop and the Witch’s Hut.
According to FinTech Global, the Japanese boutique investment bank that is raising the $130m cost of the project, Metsa will be a nature park containing markets selling local agricultural and craft products. There will also be a hotel with saunas in each room, and a space to hold events, as well as a lighthouse, an astronomical observatory and a "glamping" area for luxury camping.
The Moomin books have a global following, but they are particularly popular in Japan following the broadcasting of a television series that began in 1969.
Top image: The press conference to announce that the park would go ahead had some celebrity guests (Fintech Global)