Forest and Lake and Umbrella
When I shared the information about the Forest and Lake and Umbrella Metsa Umbrella Sky Project on the Saitama event pages, I didn’t think I would actually be able to go during the time frame myself. But an opportunity arose today for my youngest daughter and I to go, so we took it. We weren’t disappointed.
Umbrella Sky Project
The internationally acclaimed Umbrella Sky Project which started in Portugal around eight years ago is an art project you can see in many locations around the world. Currently, in Japan there is an Umbrella Sky Project in at least one other location in the Kanto plain. The other one I know of is at Karuizawa.
Forest and Lake and Umbrella
Forest and Lake and Umbrella is the Metsa’s Umbrella sky project. You can certainly see the forest and umbrellas together, but if there was a view of the lake from where the umbrellas are, I missed it. But just as you pass the end of the umbrellas you get a view of the beautiful Miyazawa Lake.
Rainbow Umbrella display
Forest and Lake and Umbrella uses 1000 umbrellas making it the biggest umbrella art installation in Japan to date. They are spread over a 100 metres of the main entrance walkway of the Moomin theme park. It didn’t feel like there was a 1000 umbrellas, but it didn’t matter – it is the rainbow coloured design and vibrant vibe that makes the display so impressive.
There some beautiful purple hydrangea at the edge of the forest along the side of the walkway where the umbrellas are displayed. It was too hard to get a photo of them and the umbrellas together due to lighting and angles (plus I am not a photographer!). I personally also wasn’t able to get a clear photo of the umbrellas without people in them. As you would expect, there is constantly people admiring / walking / standing / posing under the umbrellas. If you have the time and patience to wait, an opportunity might arise though.
Umbrella display in the workshop
In the workshop in Metsa Village they have a small display of umbrellas from the ceiling. They are connected to the workshop tables to give the impression of them carrying the tables. It gives the illusion that the tables are floating. The umbrellas are different to the umbrellas in the main walkway which are each a singular colour. In the workshop they have different type of motifs and designs.
During the period there will also be a pop up shop selling various types of umbrellas and products with umbrella motif. There are also workshops scheduled during the display period. Workshops are charged. Price varies according to what type of workshop. They will also have a limited period exclusive rainbow cheese cake for sale (540 yen per slice) while the Umbrella Sky Project is running.From the event information share on Insaitama.com
Forest and Lake and Umbrella Cost
The umbrella display is free to view. It is at the main entrance to the complete park which comprises Metsa and Moomin Valley Park. Metsa is also free. You walk through Metsa to get to Moomin Valley Park which is the part with a cover charge.
However, if you come by car you have to pay for parking. It costs 100 yen for 10 minutes on a weekday and 500 yen for half an hour on the weekend. It is a bone of contention with dozens, if not hundreds, of online reviewers who mention this as the biggest turn off of the Moomin theme park.
On a weekday there is an upper cap of 1800 yen so you will never have to pay more than that on a weekday. On the weekend the upper cap is 3000 yen, that is the maximum you will pay even if you are there all day. But 3000 yen for parking in rural Hanno does seem exorbitant don’t you think?
Discount for booking in advance
If you book in advance, which they recommend you do, you can get a full days parking for 1,500 yen on a weekday and for 2,500 yen on the weekend. The benefit of booking in advance, apart from the discount, is that you won’t be turned away on a busy day. They always give priority to pre-booked parking.
On the cheap
If you just want to see the umbrella sky project it doesn’t have to be an exorbitant expense, especially if you can go on a weekday. Metsa village is free in. It is only Moomin Valley Park you have to pay into. And the umbrellas are right by the entrance to Metsa so just a minute walk from the main car park. Meaning you could pay for just ten to thirty minutes (depending on how many photos you want to take) parking and enjoy the picturesque art display for as little as 100 yen (or 300 yen for half an hour).
Forest and Lake and Umbrella Dates
The umbrella sky project is visible daily / will be up until bank holiday Monday July 15th.
Metsa Village Information
Hours: open 10 am to 9 pm, parking opens at 9.30 am
Cost: detailed above
About ten minutes from the Sayama / Hidaka Interchange of the Ken-o expressway. Parking detailed above.
By public transport
There are buses to Metsa Village from Seibu Ikebukuro Line’s Hanno Station (North exit, bus stop 1) or from JR Hachiko Line’s Higashi Hanno station. If you want to walk from the stations, it takes about 35 minutes on foot from both.