The Umbrella Sky Project at Metsa is called “Forest, Lake and Umbrella”. It can be reached from Tokyo in just over an hour by either public transport or by car.
Japan’s largest umbrella sky
This year again, there will be 1,200 umbrellas. However, they will not be on the entry route like in previous years. This year they are in Moominvalley Park where you have to pay 2,300 yen to enter. Another change, this year, they will have two completely separate umbrella stands. The first part will start in April. The theme of this exhibit is “Little My” – a character from the books / cartoons who dresses in red. So, the first umbrella exhibition in 2021 will be red umbrellas. From June 21 to 25, they will remove these umbrellas and install a whole new river of umbrellas. They will be on display to the public from June 26 to the end of August. They have not yet decided on the concept of this display.
- Part one – April 17 to June 20.
- Second part – from June 26 to August 29.
How to Reach
- By car: Metsa is about a ten minute drive from the Sayama / Hidaka Interchange of the Ken-o expressway. Parking was previously charged and required booking, but the parking is now free on weekdays and booking is no longer required.
- 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.
- Opening Time: Open 10 am to 9 pm seven days a week. The market hall closes at 8 pm.
- Cost: Metsa Village is free to enter, but you do have to pay into the Moomin Valley Park area. And in 2021 for the first time the umbrellas will be in that area. So this year it costs 2300 yen to see the umbrellas. You also have to pay for parking. The car park is now free on weekdays and is capped at a 1500 maximum charge on weekends.
What to See
Hattifattener’s Thunder Splash
The Hattifattener’s or Nyoro Nyoro Thunder Splash was newly added to the Umbrella street event in 2020. Thunder Splash. Nyoro-nyoro is the Japanese for the Hattifatteners character, that look like a thin long ghost or white mushroom! The Hattifattener’s thunder lightning splash combines sound effects, mist and water to heighten the experience of the umbrella sky. And also to help cool down in the summer heat! There is also a fountain spot where kids can play with water. It is not yet known if there’ll be a thunder splash in 2021.
Umbrella Sky Japan light up
Both areas are open until 9 pm at night so you can see the umbrellas lit up at night too. They are using different color umbrellas to give the illusion of a rainbow along entrance road. The lakeside display aims to create a “warm light” image and will use different color umbrellas to entrance road.
In 2019, there were pop up shops selling various types of umbrellas and products with umbrella motif. There was also a display in the workshop area (from the ceiling) with different types of umbrella shapes, some with animal motifs. They also had workshops scheduled during the display period.