Metsa, comprising Metsa Village and Moomin Valley Park, is a Moomin theme park in rural Saitama. However, it can be reached from Tokyo in just over an hour by either public transport or by car. The Umbrella Sky Project is at the main entrance to the theme park.
The Umbrella Sky Project at Metsa is called "Forest, Lake and Umbrella". At the Entrance Road, the umbrellas are backdropped by a lush forest lined with stunning purple geraniums, but you can't actually see the lake until after you have passed the umbrella display. The display is made up of 1000 umbrellas in the varying shades of the rainbow. They cast beautiful colored shadows onto the footpath beneath. The footpath itself is painted in vibrant shades. Together they forge a breathtaking scene.
There is also a smaller display of umbrellas in the Metsa Hall, a craft and workshop area with a view of Miyazawa lake. The umbrellas in Metsa Hall are different from those at Entrance Road. They are umbrellas of different shapes and with varying patterns and motifs on them. During the period of the event you can purchase a special limited edition rainbow cheese cake at Lagom, a Smørrebrød restaurant in the market hall.
The umbrella sky will be up until Monday July 15th. The event is free and entrance into Metsa village is free. There is a cover charge to enter Moomin Valley Park. Parking is also charged.
By car: Metsa is about a ten minute drive from the Sayama / Hidaka Interchange of the Ken-o expressway. Parking is available, but it is recommended you book it in advance. On a busy day priority is given to people who have reserved parking. It is also cheaper if you reserved parking. It costs 1,500 yen for the day on a weekday and 2,500 yen on a weekend. If you haven't booked, parking is charged at 100 yen for ten minutes on a weekday with an upper cap of 1,800 yen for the day. On the weekend it costs 500 yen for thirty minutes with an upper cap of 3,000 yen maximum charge.
By public transport: You can get a bus bound for Metsa from Seibu Ikebukuro's Hanno Station North Exit bus stop 1. There is also a bus from Higashi Hanno Station, which is on the JR Hachiko Line.
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I've been in Japan for 18 years and yet everyday is still an adventure. For the last 11 years I have been living in and blogging about Saitama Prefecture (on my personal blog insaitama.com), occasionally appearing on TV to promote the attractions of my adopted home in rural Saitama. Despite its central location, just North of Tokyo, Saitama is still quite unknown to the international tourist, but frequented by domestic travelers. It is a great place to experience some off-the-international-tourist-trail locations and meet with locals and national tourists. And of course Saitama is home to venues for both the Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I hope to introduce a taste of what there is to do and see in my articles on Japan Travel and help you with your Saitama travel planning.