Action-packed or alpacas? The choice is yours.
How about a day at the pig races? Chiba Prefecture’s huge Mother Farm is family friendly and you can loaf about with llamas, milk cows, ride horses, pick fruit, try bungee jumping, enjoy the amusements and picnic.
These hills are alive, with the sound of animals, families — and yes — music. The farm which sits on Mount Kano has been running for over 50 years and remains popular with Tokyoites. A major draw is the capybara. This mostly sedate creature seems to be the current favorite gigantic South American rodent amongst kawaii types. It plods around the enclosure, followed by adoring fans who can gently pat the straw furred beast. That alone, is worth the price of admission!
A day at the pig races
A close second, for the kids, is the pig races. Children between the age of three and sixth grade can run alongside piglets twice a day, four races at weekends. As you can imagine, this is a sought-after event and competitors are chosen via a lottery system 15 minutes before the run.
There’s a paddock and small enclosure where you can ride the horses, a favorite with families. There are several different rides available for beginners and more experienced, adult and child alike. Wear long trousers and sneakers if you plan on saddling up. Or you may just be content in feeding a cup of carrots to the steeds.
It’s not just your equine friends who enjoy being fed. Alpacas, goats and sheep will appreciate food supplied by the farm. There’s also ostriches, emus, guinea pigs and rabbits — some of whom bask in the attention of visitors.
Did somebody say tractor train?
Another way to see the farm is the tractor train which promises views of Tokyo Bay, weather permitting, of course. In spring, the fields bloom with a carpet of petunias and there’s mouth-watering fruit and vegetables to be picked. You can load up on kiwis, sweet potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes and blueberries — a nice fresh souvenir to stock up the larder. There’s plenty of green space to relax, have a picnic or just catch a few rays when the sun does its thing.
For mild thrill seekers
If that doesn’t grab you, a bungy jump or ziplining will. On the former, you get to jump 21 metres with a backdrop of the Boso mountains. A further adrenaline rush is the zipline attraction which you zoom through the air on a 340-meter-long cable, probably yelling your lungs out.
Having sensibly completed your thrill-seeking first, it’s time to snack or lunch at one of several restaurants, cafes and barbecue outlets on the site. There’s a no smoking policy operated always. Soft serve ice cream is available at stands throughout the farm and is made on site courtesy of the resident cows. There’s also the option to make your own butter, jam, yogurt and cheese at the food tasting studio. If you couldn’t face another tasty morsel, you can join the handicraft studio and create leather key holders, good luck accessories, woolen toys and pressed flowers.
After finishing your folk art it’s time to freak out at Waku-Waku Land, the farm’s very own amusement park. Just follow the beat of J-pop fairground sounds. On offer is the Ferris wheel, family roller coaster, cycling monorail, ice world, samba balloons and many more.
Finally, exhausted as you are, pick up some handmade ham and sausages or wafers and milk in the farm stores for an easy to make meal when you arrive home.