Moomin in Japan: From past to present

The first Japanese translations of Tove Jansson’s books were released in the 1960s, quickly followed by the Japanese Moomin TV animations. Now, with several Moomin Shops, a theme park, cafés and patisseries - and a huge fanbase - Moomin’s presence in Japan can’t go unnoticed. Dive into the history of the Moomins in Japan and all things Moomin you can find there today.

Whether you’re a true fan or a curious traveller, you can traverse the Moomin fandom in Japan in this article! 🇯🇵 If you’re looking for something specific, you can jump directly to…

➡️ The history of the Moomins in Japan
➡️ Moominvalley Park
➡️ Moomin Shops
➡️ Moomin Cafés and Patisseries
➡️ Moomin stories and adaptations in Japanese
➡️ Useful links for Moomin in Japan


The history of the Moomins in Japan

Moomin novels arrived in Japan in the 1960s 📚

The first-ever Moomin story, The Moomins and the Great Flood, was published in the original language of Swedish in 1945, followed by Comet in Moominland in 1946 – but it wasn’t until a couple of decades later that the Moomin stories started getting popular around the world.

When the Moomin books landed in Japan, the interest grew quickly and Japanese editions of all eight novels came out within a handful of years between the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Like in other languages, many of the names of characters and places have been indigenised – for example, in Japanese Hattifatteners are called “Nyoronyoro”, and Snorkmaiden is “Non-non”.

Two Japanese Moomin animations before the 90s hit series 📺

Quickly after the first Japanese Moomin novels, the Fuji Television network picked up a 65-episode animated series inspired by the Moomin stories. Mūmin (“Moomin”) aired in Japan from 1969 to 1970. 

The series would look odd to any Moomin fan today: the characters were barely recognisable and the storylines included violence, alcohol and cars – a world very different from what Tove Jansson created.

For this reason, the series was never approved by Tove and, therefore not broadcast outside of Japan.

A second, more child-friendly and approved series, Shin Mūmin (“New Moomin”), was released in Japan in 1972 and distributed internationally.

Nearly two decades later, the global phenomenon Moomin (“Tanoshi Mūmin Ikka” in Japanese) was released in 1990. The origins of this hugely successful animation are also rooted in Japan: the series was a combined effort of Japanese, Dutch and Finnish producers. 

What many fans don’t know is that in Japan, the series also got a spin-off with 26 more episodes. In the Pacifics, the new series, Delightful Moomin Family: Adventure Diary, was seen as the second season of Moomin. It was never dubbed in English or European languages.

Tove Jansson visiting Japan 🧳

Tove was always a fan of Japanese aesthetics, and she collected prints from renowned artists like Hiroshige and Hokusai

Tove visited Japan for the first time in the early ‘70s when traveling around the world to promote the Moomins with her partner Tuulikki Pietilä.

During this visit, Tove gave a speech to 800 people in Tokyo. Boel Westin writes in her authorised biography that Tove started learning Japanese months in advance, with the help of a Japanese architect, to deliver her entire speech in the native language. This, of course, was a success and describes well Tove’s special relationship with her Japanese fans and their culture. 

Tove in Japan
Tove in Japan in the 1970s (A photo from Tove Jansson’s archives)

In her collection of stories, Travelling Light, originally published in 1987 but only recently translated into English, Tove wrote a story called ‘Correspondence’: a series of letters between a Japanese girl and her favourite writer Jansson. A beautiful exchange likely distilled from Tove’s real-life correspondence with readers – she answered all fan letters personally.

Moomin sites in Japan today

Moominvalley Park 🏞️

Moominvalley Park
📍 357-0001 Miyatazawa, Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture 327-6

Moomin fans in Japan or travelling to Japan were given a whole new reason to be excited in 2019 when the first Moomin theme park opened in the country. 

Moominvalley Park is built alongside a Nordic-themed outdoor activity area in Hanno City, Japan. Surrounded by forest and a lake, with built-in locations from Moominvalley, the park truly transports visitors in the middle of the beloved stories.

You can explore four floors of the Moominhouse, meet all your favourite characters and visit immersive theatre experiences amongst a whole day’s worth of other exciting activities.

Moominvalley Park bathing hut

Moominvalley Park 5th anniversary

On 16 March 2024, Moominvalley Park celebrates its 5th anniversary! Here are five special things taking place at the park during the anniversary month:

1️⃣ Everyone visiting the park on the anniversary (16h March) will get a Japanese “tenugui” cloth decorated with the park’s anniversary logo!

2️⃣ Anniversary fireworks will take place on 13 days different days.

3️⃣ Special guests, including Japanese media personalities and actors, will visit Emma’s Theatre every Saturday.

4️⃣ New feature, Theatre of Moominvalley, will show an animation based on the book Who will comfort Toffle?.

5️⃣ Five new photo opportunities with character statues have been placed around the park.


Moominvalley Park mug

Psst! Do you have the very first Moominvalley Park mug? With the opening of the park in 2019, Moomin Arabia released a special mug that was at first only sold in Japan.

Including a special stamp of the park’s logo, the mug is available at the global Moomin Shop.


Moomin Shops and products 🛍️

The first Moomin Shop in Japan was opened in Futakotamagawa, Tokyo, in 2012; 13 years after the first-ever official shop opened in Helsinki, Finland. Before this store, the first Moomin Café, opened in Tokyo Dome in 2003, had a shop corner that sold different Moomin products.

The style of Moomin products in Japan was at first largely based on the Nordic lifestyle, with fashionable items that reminded fans of the culture that also inspired the Moomin stories. Today, the official Moomin selection in Japan combines imported Nordic brands with thousands of different products and exclusive goodies created by Japanese brands.

Moomin shop Yokohama products

Moomin products Ginza Moomin products Ginza

The original stores no longer exist, but with several recent openings, Moomin Shops are a regular sight across different cities in Japan – with more and more exclusive products that fans on the other side of the world have never even heard about!

Here are all the official Moomin Shops in Japan today:

Moomin Shops

These are large shops with wide product selections, including both Nordic and Japanese brands, as well as exclusive goodies only available at these locations!

yokohama shop front

Moomin Shop FutakoTamagawa

Moomin Shop Nagoya
📍6th floor , Takashimaya Gate Tower Mall, 1-1-3 Meieki, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya

Moomin Shop Futako Tamagawa
📍Futako Tamagawa Rise Shopping Center, 2 Chome-21-1 Tamagawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 158-0094, Japan

Moomin Shop Ginza Tokyo
📍 3-1 Ginzanishi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061

Moomin Shop Osaka
📍 LUCUA Osaka, Floor 8, 3-1-3 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 530-8217 

Moomin Shop Yokohama
📍 Sotetsu Joinus, 1-5-1 Minamisaiwai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa


These are smaller shops, each designed based on a specific Moomin comic, with various products and exclusive limited-edition items.

Moomin Shop Sapporo

Moomin Shop Tennoji

Moomin Shop CASUAL EDITION Tennoji Mio Osaka
📍 Tennoji MIO, 6th floor, 10-39 Hidenincho, Tennoji Ward, Osaka, 543-0055

Moomin Shop CASUAL EDITION Ueno Tokyo
📍 Atre Ueno WEST B1, 7-1-1 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Moomin Shop CASUAL EDITION Yokohama
📍 2-16-B1 Takashima, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa

Moomin Shop CASUAL EDITION Stellar Place Sapporo
📍 Sapporo Stella Place 5F, 2 Kita-5-jonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo City, Hokkaido

Moomin Cafés and Patisseries ☕ 🍰

The first Moomin Café in Japan was opened in Tokyo Dome in 2003. Since then, there have been other cafés and pop-ups around the country, with one staple location currently open.

Moomin Café Karuizawa
📍 Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza West, Karuizawa-cho, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano, Japan.

From Moomintroll decorated lattes to Hattifattener cakes, Moomin Café Karuizawa is a special visit.


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A post shared by Moomin (@moominofficial)

Moomin Patisserie

In 2024, a new concept of Moomin Patisserie was launched in Japan. From the first patisserie opened in Osaka in January to 10+ following cities, the patisserie pop-up changes location every week until the end of May 2024. 

Osaka Moomin Patisserie

Moomin Patisserie cookies


Other Moomin sites and pop-ups 🌳

The Towel Museum

The Towel Museum
📍 2930 Asakurakami-kō, Imabari City

The Towel Museum in Matsuyama, Shikoku, has a permanent exhibition “Into the Moomin World”, including a 40-metre towel with different Moomin characters!


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Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s Forest Park 

Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s Forest Park
📍 893-1 Azu, Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture 357-0046

Tove Jansson inspired the creation of the Akebono Children’s Forest Park, opened in Hanno City in 1997. The park aims to create a comfortable, whimsical space for children and families to relax. The principle is to live in harmony with nature – one of the key themes in the Moomin stories.

In the park, you can feel the Tove Jansson-like atmosphere and maybe even find elements in the park that remind you of the Moomin stories, such as a bathing hut.

Moomin stories and adaptations in Japanese 

If you’re looking for Moomin content in Japanese, here are some tips to finding it.

Moomin books in Japanese 📚

Moomin books Japan

You can find Moomin novels and picture books in Japanese from official Moomin Shops around Japan, or the Japanese Moomin webshop. They may also be available through different resellers.

Moomin comics in Japanese 💭


Though the Moomin comics may not be as well known in Japan as the novels and animations, they have all been translated into Japanese. The books Moomin Comic Strips Vol. 1-14 , for example, have been published in Japan. You may find the comics in the same places as the novels and picture books.

Between 2020-2021, a special exhibition Moomin Comic Strips Exhibition – the Art of Tove and Lars Jansson was brought to several cities in Japan, including a few rarer comics translated into Japanese for the very first time.

Old Moomin animations in Japanese 📺

The original Japanese Moomin animations, Mūmin and Shin Mūmin, aired in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s and therefore are hard to find these days. You may find fan-made videos of different episodes on YouTube.

The ’90s series Moomin (Tanoshi Mūmin Ikka) is unfortunately also not available on any official streaming services. 

Moominvalley series in Japanese 💻

The Moomins were brought to the 3D space for the first time in 2019, when the new series, Moominvalley (“Moomin dani no Nakamatachi” in Japanese), was released globally.

The first season aired in Japan on the BS4K channel in April 2019 with some A-list voices in the cast, such as Ikue Otani and Koji Ochiai. The first and second series can be streamed on BS4K.

Moomin games in Japanese 🕹️

The highly anticipated musical game Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is finally available on PC Steam and Nintendo Switch globally – also in Japanese. A mobile version will be released later in the year.

Rebellious Snufkin



There are also several other Moomin mobile games available in Japan, many of which originate from there. You may have heard of Moomin Move, a location-based mobile game that is currently taking over Japan.

Friendship skills with the Moomins in Japanese

Friendship skills with the Moomins is a joint endeavour by Moomin Characters and the Red Cross that aims to teach children self-awareness and compassion through free learning materials. The material created for both teachers and parents to practice with children is now also available in Japanese.

Moominvalley Park 🏞️

🔗 Website
🔗 Instagram

Moomin Shop Japan 🛍️

🔗 Website & shop
🔗 Facebook
🔗 Instagram
🔗 X

Moomin Café Karuizawa ☕ 

🔗 Website
🔗 Instagram

Moomin Patisserie 🍰

🔗 Website
🔗 Instagram

Keep an eye out for these channels – new Moomin Shops will open in Japan in 2024! 😉



Moomin fan’s guide to Finland

Relive the Moomin stories by visiting the places listed on this Moomin tourist guide to Finland, from Moominworld to the Finnish archipelago.