The world famous character Moomin is loved by Japanese as well as by people all around the world. In Hanno (飯能), Saitama prefecture, there are several spots created for Moomin’s fans. You can experience the world of Moomin for real in this city. In this feature, we will introduce Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s Forest Park (トーベ・ヤンソンあけぼの子どもの森公園), which was first opened in 1997. Located in Motokaji (元加治), this garden was built as the house of Moomin. Inside the park, there is a building displaying works by author Tove Jansson and a variety of objects related to Moomin allowing you to experience Moomin’s amazing world.
To get to Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s Forest Park, you can take the Seibu Line from Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo. It takes approximately 44 minutes one way. From Motokaji station, it is about a 20-minute walk amidst nature and the warmth of Japanese-style architecture.
It might be a little difficult to use Google Maps but when you notice this sign, it means you have almost arrived.
There is no entry fee to this beautiful park. How amazing is that? As you walk from the entrance into the park, you will forget that you are in Japan. Walking through the garden, you will find a unique building featuring an adorable face and you will instantly feel transported to the world of Moomin.
There is plenty of shade throughout the park and a walk is quite refreshing even on a cold winter’s day. Big trees are scattered throughout the garden and it is rare to find such a spot in the suburbs close to Tokyo and even in Saitama.
Mushroom House (きのこの家)
No surprises here! As the name suggests, this building is shaped like a mushroom. On the first floor, there is a living room with a fireplace, and on the second floor, you can get a view of the fantastic surrounding.
Forest House (森の家)
The first floor of this building houses the Tove Jansson Museum. On the second floor, you can enjoy reading some of your favorite books by Tove. The walls of this building feature a well-known product from Hanno known as Nishikawa-zai or Japanese cypress logs.
As you walk from one spot to the next, you can cross streams and bridges that are built to match Moomin’s world. How cute is this tunnel and the staircase that fits right into this forested area?
A unique feature of this garden is this blue pavilion in the middle of a pond. The reflections of the building in the water along with the surrounding trees is breathtaking. You can sit in front of the building and enjoy a moment of quiet. Don’t forget to step into the pavilion!
Puisto in Finnish means park. Cafe Puisto is located in this park surrounded by nature and the atmosphere is like that of being in Scandinavia. The woodwork within the cafe gives a feeling of warmth. There is a zone for children and even a menu specifically catering to kids.
Opening hours: 10:00-17:00（L.O.16:00）
We ordered one of the dishes under SMORREBROD. Our Hamburg was served with brown rice, a salad, grated carrot, some avocado and an egg. Healthy and delicious!
So if you’re a Moomin fan, we highly recommend visiting Hanno for its many Moomin-featured spots!
Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s Forest Park (トーベ・ヤンソンあけぼの子どもの森公園)
Opening hours: Weekdays 9:00-17:00, Weekends 9:00-21:00
Closed on Mondays; Admission Free
Light-up show: sunset-21:00
Closest Station: 20-minute walk from Motokaji (元加治)
Official website: https://www.city.hanno.lg.jp/akebono
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