The Moomins Go To Japan

Have you heard of the Moomins? Is that a yes? (If so I’ll tell you something that you didn’t know) You’re not sure, but the name rings a bell? (Carry on reading; you’re in for a surprise!) The Moomins or Mumintroll if you’re Swedish are characters in a series of animation and picture books created by Tove Jansson. The Moomins are a family of trolls who are white, round and plump, with large heads that make them resemble something in between an elephant and a hippopotamus. The adventurous family lives deep within the forests of Moominvalley in Finland.

Meet The Moomin Family
Meet The Moomin Family

“Finland?” I hear you say, so what’s a Finnish animation got to do with Japan? Well quite a lot actually. In Japan, The Moomin’s play into a culture craze for all things cute or ‘Kawaii”, if it looks cute, a Japanese adult will buy the item as much as a child will. Located within the famous Tokyo Sky Tree complex is a Moomin café that “invites you into the Moomin Valley”.

Moomin café & Bakery invites you into the Moomin Valley.
Photo Credit: https://catastrophicfindings.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/moomin-bakery-and-cafe/
Moomin Cafe  Bakery Menu - Make sure you brush up on your Kana or ask for the English Menu
Moomin Cafe & Bakery Menu – Make sure you know your Kana or ask for the English Menu

Here you’ll find a variety of breads and dishes straight from Moomin’s home in Finland. That’s not all! You can escape your loneliness (that’s if you’re lonely of course) by dining with huge plush Moomin characters.

Problem Solved For Solo Diners
Problem Solved For Solo Diners
Perfect Company
Perfect Company

The Café’s dreamlike decor even has food and drinks inspired by the Moomin characters.

Moomin Summer Fruit Deserts
Moomin Summer Fruit Deserts
Moomin_Curry
Moomin Curry!

Moomin lovers can further enjoy eating their food with Moomin cutlery…this my friend is Moomin heaven!

It is well known that Tove Jansson, (who died in 2001) based her work on her life experiences, especially from her experiences from growing up during the Second World War. Her sense of shyness and feelings of disaster portrayed throughout her work may be the reason why the Japanese were more susceptible towards the Moomins. Also the Finnish way of “living in accordance with nature” is in harmony with the Japanese teachings of Shinto.

Date didnt turn up?Problem Solved For Solo Diners
Date didnt turn up? Problem Solved For Solo Diners, Papa Moomin is here.
Is that Mama Moomin?
Is that Mama Moomin?

The Japanese love for the Moomins doesn’t stop here, In the Kanto prefecture of Saitama, Hanno City, (approximately 40 minutes from Tokyo Ikebukuro Station) stands a real life Moominhouse in Akebono Kodomo Mori Park (あけぼの子どもの森公園). The Park, designed especially for children, was built and opened in 1997 and became known as Moomin Valley.

Moomin House in Moomin Valley - Akebono Kodomo Mori Park
Moomin House in Moomin Valley – Akebono Kodomo Mori Park

The landscape around the park is beautifully green and scenic, great to enjoy a special bond with nature. Visitors of the park say walking through this valley, gives the impression that one is walking in a fairy-tale land, the peaceful environment, definitely has a touch of fantasy to it.

Moomin Valley - Let Your Imagination Run Wild
Moomin Valley – Let Your Imagination Run Wild

Wait! There’s more… In 2006 Finland’s national Airlines depicted Two Finnair Boeing MD-11 aircrafts with big Moomin figures. The ‘Moomin Aricrafts’ as they became to be known mainly operated on routes between Japan and Finland during the summer months. Its inaugural flights to Nagoya (名古屋市) the largest city in the Chūbu prefecture of Japan had the Moomins on-board…awesome!

Moomin Airlines
Moomin Airlines

Well there you have it, who would have guessed Moomins were so popular in Japan. The Moomin Café in Tokyo and the Moomin House in Hanno City are definitely not to be missed! If you’re like most of us and cannot visit Japan, then worry not for you can try cooking Moomin food yourself from the Moomin Cookbook available from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/190683816X. Why not transform your kitchen in to a Moomin Cafe?

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