Metsa is the largest Nordic Lifestyle recreation spot in all of Japan. It incorporates Metsa Village and Moominvalley Park. Metsa Village is the ‘free’ part of the Nordic and Finnish theme park in Hanno, Saitama. Each year they have a Christmas Village, but it has been quite different since the pandemic began. However, you can still enjoy a Nordic Christmas and Japan’s largest Himmeli display, in the weeks leading up to Christmas. At the same time as the Christmas event there is also winter illumination event in the part of the park you have to pay into: Moominvalley Park.
Metsa Village Christmas 2023
So far (October 16th 2023), Metsa have confirmed seven key events for their 2023 Christmas Village in a press release. Overall, the official period of the Christmas Village is from November 9th (the anniversary of Metsa) to Christmas Day. At a later date they confirmed they will also have their usual Christmas tree. Moreover, they confirmed an eight key event, thee key event – the Santa Claus Visit…
①Japan’s largest Himmeli Sky
Metsa are great for decorating the sky. Right now (October 16th 2023) you can see an Autumn balloon sky in Moominvalley Park. Moreover, Metsa is home to Japan’s largest umbrella sky The umbrella sky has been in the charged area for the last three years, but it started out on entrance road, which is in the free area. And the Himmeli Sky will be on Entrance Road this year. Approximately 100 himmeli will decorate 100 meters of the entrance road. Moreover, they will be lit up at night.
②Metsa Village Christmas Shop
Metsa as a Nordic theme park, actually sells some Christmas goods all year round. But for the Christmas period they have a market in the Metsa Hall. Metsa Hall is actually quite small, so its that not that large of a market. The Christmas market in Saitama Shintoshin is larger. But Metsa does have some cute and original seasonal goods that are hard to come by elsewhere in Saitama. They also sell traditional Christmas goods from Europe such as wreaths, tree decorations and Christmas stockings.
The Christmas shop will be open from Friday the 13th of October to Tuesday December 26th 2023. The market is in the Metsa Hall from 10 am to 6 pm daily. Before the pandemic they had Christmas workshops to make your own Christmas decorations such as wreaths and Christmas candles. Currently, there are no workshops scheduled at Metsa Hall. However, there will be workshops at the Nordic Christmas Market and Viking Market:
③Christmas Market & ④Lucia Day
Based on the Swedish Christmas tradition of Lucia, on the weekend of December 9th and 10th there will be two markets and and Lucia Day. They will have a Viking market and a Nordic Christmas Market on both the 9th and 10th and is held by Lake Miyazawa, pictured above. There will also be workshops on both days. Lucia Day will be celebrated on the 9th with a Lucia performance.
⑤Kantela Mini Concert
On Saturday December 9th, 16th and 23rd there will be a mini concert at 2 pm and 4 pm. You can enjoy a live performance of Christmas songs on the kantele.
On Saturday December 16th the Musashi Ogose High School Band will perform Christmas songs at midday and 2 pm. Each time they will perform for about 20 minutes.
Tonttu are Santa’s little helpers. On November 11th and 12th there will be a Tonttu Festival in Metsa Village from 10 am to 4.30 pm. Official event page.
Santa Claus will visit Metsa two days in December 2023. Once on December 2nd, which is a free, open event, and once on December 23rd. On the 23rd there is both a free event and one which costs 1000 yen and requires you purchase a ticket in advance. For the free event, you do need to fulfil some social media requirements, make sure you follow the instructions on the official event page in order to qualify to meet him. Those who have paid for the event will get the certificate pictured above. Unfortunately, the tickets for that event are already sold out.
Visiting Metsa Christmas Village
We visited Metsa Christmas Village in the winter of 2019. We visited on the opening day so unfortunately we didn’t get to see it in its prime. That year, they only had one small tree with some miserly decorations at that stage. But this year the tall Christmas tree is definitely up and decorated nicely for the market. Because the day we visited was actually a bit too early for the festivities, we ended up going to Funmock ‘an athletic playground in the sky’, which was a blessing in disguise. We probably wouldn’t have checked it out otherwise and for us it is the highlight of Metsa Village!
Metsa Christmas Information
Event: Metsa Christmas Village
Dates: from Thursday November 9th to Monday December 25th, but as outlined above, some of the individual events have different dates.
Time: from 10 am to 6 pm for the Christmas Shop, to 4 pm for the Christmas Market and from 4 pm to late for the light up.
Cost: there is no admission fee to Metsa or the Christmas Village, but if you want to see the illumination in Moominvalley Park there is a charge.
Venue: Metsa, 327‐6 Miyazawa, Hanno City, Saitama〒357-0001 Japan. View on Google Maps.
The Metsa Village Christmas market is located about 10 minutes by car from the Sayama Hidaka Interchange of the Ken-o expressway. Unfortunately since April 1st 2023 you now have to pay for parking on weekdays again (it was free during the pandemic). It costs 1000 yen on weekdays, but the first two hours are free. On the weekend the price has actually come down. In 2023, it costs 1500 yen for parking on a Saturday or Sunday, there are no free hours. A bus goes to Metsa from Seibu Ikebukuro Line’s Hanno Station.
Editor’s note: In 2018 and 2019 they had a lot of additional events and Christmas decorations during the period. However, in 2021 there was just the food market. In 2022, they had a Christmas Market and a new element “Christmas Food Garden”. In 2022 was the first time for the Christmas Food Garden, but it is not scheduled for 2023. 20191103