JAPAN'S love of theme parks and cute-and-cuddly characters will be further sated with the opening of a Moomin-themed amusement park in 2017.
To be known as Metsa - the word for forest in Finland, where the characters originally come from - the park is to be built in woodland alongside a large lake in the city of Hanno, north-west of Tokyo.
Funding for the new park is coming from Tokyo-based investment firm FinTech Global.
"We have set a target of at least one million visitors in our first year," Kazuki Utsumi, a spokeswoman for the company told TTG Asia e-Daily.
"Obviously, our main target customers will be Japanese, but we will welcome tourists from any foreign nation," she said, adding that details concerning the park will be provided in English as well as Japanese.
Metsa will be the first Moomin park outside Finland, and the 19ha plot alongside Lake Miyazawa will incorporate a free public zone and the Moomin Zone theme park, complete with a museum, resort facilities and amusements and rides.
Part of the attraction will be a recreation of the ice-bound hometown of the Moomins, who were first dreamed up by Tove Jansson, who wrote and illustrated the first Moomin book in 1945.