Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.
I had never heard of Moomin until I stayed in Japan. It is here that I came across a lot of merchandise with the hippo-looking characters that kinda remind me of some good old nostalgic cartoon. The illustration style of Tove Jansson, the creator of Moomin, is very enchanting and I find myself oddly attracted to it. The author/illustrator from Finland first created these characters for her children picture books in 1945. Since then, the Moomins are very much loved by the Japanese even after the artist’s death in 2001.
When I read on Elle’s blog that Japan has a “Moomin Valley” in Hanno City (Saitama Prefecture), I was really determined to check out the whimsical place with my family. Our home is in Chiba so it was quite a drive to Akebono Kodomo-no-mori Koen (あけぼのこどもの森公園). Thankfully, we were not disappointed. The surrealistic structures and buildings inspired by world of Moomin have magically transformed the park into a beautiful, mysterious place for curious minds to explore.
Fireball and Twinkle-Bell had a great time exploring every nook and cranny of this interesting structure, built in July 1997.
In this building, there is a small exhibition hall dedicated to Tove Jansson and her internationally beloved Moomins, as well as a tiny library.
Park Opening Hours:
9 am – 5 pm / Closed on Mondays*
(*If public holiday falls on a Monday, the park will close on the following Tuesday)
Other Closing Days: 28th Dec to 4th Jan
893-1 Azu, Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture 〒357-0046
See access on official website (in Japanese).
After visiting this place, I am so looking forward to the opening of Moomin theme park, which will also be in Hanno City, scheduled to open as early as 2017.