Day Trip from Tokyo: Popular Hanno City in Saitama Coexists with Nature
Saitama Prefecture has rich nature in many places and it is only one hour away from the center of Tokyo, being adjacent to it. Hanno City we introduce this time is one of such places, and it is surrounded by nature including rivers and mountains, though it is only one hour away by train. It is a popular city to enjoy mountain climbing or hiking by a day trip from Tokyo.
In addition, rich nature of the land enjoys a reputation in the world. A theme park has been decided to open in 2017, featuring the world-renowned Nordic fairy tale “Moomin”, and it will be the first of this kind outside of its home country Finland.
We would like to introduce a few attractive points of Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture, which has received approval from overseas as well.
Hanno has a few low mountains, not too high but perfect for climbing, hiking, and plain walking. Tenranzan is one of them and its trailhead is approximately 30 minutes away from the Hanno Station on foot. The mountain is only about 200m high, but being an independent peak, it offers a wonderful view from the top. It’s a popular mountain as you can overlook not only Hanno City but also various tourist attractions in Tokyo from the peak. Since the mountain is low, even climbing beginners can reach the summit in about 20 minutes, and a wide range of age groups freely visit it to enjoy climbing, from children to the elderly.
Hanno Central Park is famous for its cherry blossoms in the spring, and it is at the foothills of this Tenranzan. It is also popular for children with its athletic and playground equipment. Osamu Tezuka, the creator of manga “Tetsuwan Atom (Astro Boy)” liked this city very much, and the park has the only statue of Atom in the world that was officially sanctioned by him. Information: Map
Iruma River flows slowly through Hanno City, and Hanno-gawara riverbed is about ten minutes’ walk from the trailhead of Tenranzan. It is crowded with families on holidays, to enjoy barbeque, day camping, fishing or playing in the river. There is a red bridge called “Wariiwa-bashi” and its red color with surrounding lush greenery blends well with the blue sky, creating an attractive landscape. Information: Map
Misugidai New Town
Across Iruma River and Hanno-gawara lies a new, quiet residential area called Misugidai New Town. Though it is a little away from the station, it is a cozy area where nature and people appear to live peacefully. It may offer a nice course for a stroll, as there are parks and trendy eateries in the area.
The park is utilized mainly by local students for extracurricular activities and competitions, as there are tennis courts and multiple-purpose fields. Lighting facilities are well equipped, and it can be used after dark, too. Information: Map
Asahiyama Observatory Park
This park is further up from the Misugidai Park for 20 minutes on foot. At a height of approximately 200 m above sea level, it offers a great vantage point to overlook the city. They say Tokyo Sky Tree or Mount Fuji can be seen sometimes on a clear day. It has also become a famous spot for night views, and local people love it as a place for relaxation. Information: Map
Akebono Children’s Forest Park
When you go away from the Misugidai New Town toward adjacent Iruma City, there is another popular park of Hanno City. It is not the Moomin theme park that is to open in the future, but this park is also well known for incorporating Moomin’s world view in its design.
The park was opened in 1997, and it feels like the park is in the forest. The park makes visitors feel they are visiting somewhere in a foreign country rather than Japan. The park has buildings and grounds for children to play and a museum and library of Tove Jansson, the author of “Moomin”.
Children can be seen running around energetically on holidays, but many adults also visit the park to enjoy a therapeutic walk in the forest. Information: Map
Moomin Theme Park “Metsä” Is to Open Finally Next Year!
There is another spot we would like to recommend for your stroll in Hanno City. It is Miyazawa-ko. It is a man-made lake in Hanno City and its shore used to have recreation facilities including a fishing pond and go-kart circuit. However opening “Metsä” on this shore has been decided and the place is currently off limits until the park opens.
“Metsä” is a theme park scheduled to open in 2017 on the side of the Miyazawa-ko. This facility is designed by FinTech Global Inc. for visitors to experience the world of “Moomin”, written by Tove Jansson.
“Metsä” is a Finnish word that means “forest”. Reportedly the FinTech Global selected this site to open the theme park because the nature surrounding the Miyazawa-ko resembles the world of Moomin Valley, in addition to receiving enthusiasm and cooperation from the Hanno City.
The facility plan contains two zones to be established; “Moomin Zone” is to enjoy the world of Moomin, and “Public Zone” is a park to enjoy activities for free. A possibility of inviting stores and restaurants to open in the Public Zone is said to be considered, too.
Not much detailed information is available because it is yet to open. However the place is said to offer a wide variety of entertainment, incorporating Moomin’s worldview, taking advantage of the rich nature of Hanno.
I wonder how you liked it. This author actually visited Hanno City and found it as a town that has nature close by and as a perfect place to have a bit of physical exercise and psychological relaxation. You can visit from Tokyo on a day trip, too. If you would like to enjoy activities and have a good time to interact with nature in Japan by hiking, walking, bicycling, or barbecuing, we strongly suggest you to give a visit to Hanno City.
The area is expected to become a more exciting place by the opening of the Metsä next year. We recommend that you start keeping an eye on it as one of the promising sightseeing destinations.
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