Metsä Village – Metsa Village opened in Hanno City in Saitama Prefecture on November 9th 2018. Metsa Village is the free part of the larger “Metsa”, a Finnish leisure park around Miyazawa lake. The charged area is a Moomin theme park Moominvalley Park. The resort encompasses relaxation, activities, shopping and dining at both the free and charged areas of the park.
Moomin is a Finnish cartoon character. Hanno City has been home to a FREE Moomin park in Akebono Childrens Forest for several years. It was one of the reasons that Hanno City was chosen as the location for the first Moomin theme Park outside of Finland. The other was the landscape of the area, which is said to be comparable to Finland. Metsä Village was designed not only to compliment the Moominvalley theme park, but to use the natural landscape to create a leisure space reflective of and reminiscent of Nordic life.
The village is on the shore of Lake Miyazawa and surrounded by forest. One of the activities available is canoe hire. You can book to take a canoe out on the lake. Or if you prefer just sit and take in the view. They have some comfortable outdoor seats by the lake for anyone to use for free. They also have some eateries that have a nice view of the lake too. Unfortunately the barbecue “Utepils”, which was right by the lake, closed permanently in 2022.
Entrance Road is the colorful pathway from the car park down to the village. It is where the popular umbrella sky is displayed annually in the summer. In Autumn they have colorful flags hanging over the walkway. They play muzak throughout the day. There are some nice hydrangea along the walk in June.
Panza Funmock is a really fun “athletic in the sky” in the village. The entrance is near to the Starbucks. Both adults and children can play. You can read more about our experience at Panza Funmock here (click). (click).
Shops and eateries
As you come into Metsa from Entrance Road the Market Hall and Viking Terrace greets you on the right hand side. Market Hall is on the bottom of the building. The Market Hall is home to several small shops and a couple of restaurants, including a Saiboku store.
The 2nd floor (1st floor in British English) is home to the Viking Hall. Viking is the Japanese for buffet. The buffet restaurant has a great view of the lake.
The building on the left is the information center and it has several facilities including a baby room. Past the information building and to the left there is the Metsa hall followed by a pretty row of cafes, including a Starbucks.
Metsa hall hosts several of the events. It is also the space for pop up shops and seasonal events such as at Christmas:
One of the shops in the village is a Nordic Christmas shop where you can buy traditional European Christmas goods. Of course, Santa Claus is from Finland, so he likes to visit his home in Hanno around Christmas time each year. They also have a great Christmas market annually from November 1st to Christmas day.
Current / upcoming events at Metsa Village
Events at Metsa Village in the spring of 2023:
- Free Night Cinema. From Wednesday May 3rd to Saturday May 6th, from 5.30 pm. Event page.
- Forest and Lake Market, which is more or less a monthly event since 2022! During the Forest and Lake Markets they have several stalls as well as kitchen cars.
- May 27th and 28th from 10 am to 4 pm. Event page.
- June 10th and 11th from 10 am to 4 pm. Event page.
- Sauna and Finland. A showcase of Finnish sauna, but you can’t actually try one! If you want to experience a sauna in Hanno, Nolla Naguri is one place that offers that experience – at a cost of course.
- From Saturday February 18th to Thursday May 25th between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm.
- The Forest Kitchen Car-nival! A Golden Week event.
- Wednesday May 3rd to Saturday May 6th from 10 am to 4 pm. Event page.
- The Umbrella Sky at Moominvalley Park starts Friday April 28th…
Metsä Village Information
|Address:||〒357-0001 Saitama, Hanno, Miyazawa, 327-6 メッツァ|
When Metsa first opened parking was very expensive, but they eventually reduced and got rid of parking charges on weekdays. However, from April 1st 2023 they are reintroducing parking fees on weekdays. Parking is and was always charged on the weekend.
|Hours:||Open 10 am to 9 pm seven days a week. |
The market hall closes at 8 pm.
Metsa is only about 10 minutes in the car to / from Sayama Hidaka Interchange of the Ken-o expressway. There is an upper cap of 1500 yen for one day of parking. As per above, from April 1st 2023 they are re-introducing parking fees on weekdays. They will charge 1000 yen for the day, but the first two hours are free – only on weekdays. On weekends there is no free time and they do not validate parking.
By public transport you can access the Village by a bus from Seibu Ikebukuro Line’s Hanno Station. At one point there was also a bus from JR Hachiko Line’s Higashi Hanno station. However, that has been ‘temporarily suspended’ for over a year now! Last update: February 26th 2023.
A sample of events at Metsa, past and present
- Summer: Umbrella sky and Hattifattener’s Thunder Splash
- Christmas annually: Santa Claus Visit
- Autumn: Moominvalley Park Harvest “Balloon Sky” 2021
- Christmas annually: Christmas market
- Winter annually: Winter Wonderland
- Winter 2018 / 19: TeamLab Digitized Forest
Also new in Hanno: Pickles World! Oh Hanno!
a Finnish Theme Park in Japan? Well, there you go! It never ceases to amaze does it?