Day trippers to Mother Farm

By on February 28, 2011

With warmer temperatures felt all over the country from the last week of February, there is no doubt that spring has arrived.

My family’s first outdoor experience in Japan happened a month after arriving here last year.   We arrived in the cold month of February but had spent most of it staying indoors. Although we had visited quite a few amusement  and theme parks on our first month here, we hesitated to travel long distance for fear of losing our way, and ignorance of the language. But one day, I got an interesting request from our four-year-old son to take him and his older sister out to a petting zoo where they could see, touch, and feed animals. I thought that was too cute a request to turn down.  At the same time, I must admit it had also been challenging to go looking through a long list of undecipherable information in kanji!

Not wanting to disappoint my little boy, I went to my husband’s work colleagues for help and suggestions. The one that appealed to us most among the places they recommended was Mother Farm located in the outskirts of Chiba prefecture. A friend who had been there told us that there are all sorts of fun to be had from strawberry-picking, animal-petting, flower-picking, to cow-milking, etc.  We all got excited from what we were told. Armed with a Michelin map of Japan and tons of courage, I packed up the kids one weekend and braved the highway.

After approximately an hour of driving, we successfully reached the farm. I was overjoyed to have encountered a group of English-speaking visitors to the area who kindly gave us tips on what activities were available to us. Ticket fees were ¥1,500 for adults and ¥800 for kids.

Chiba is typically a countryside with rice paddies everywhere so its calmness is very relaxing.  We first went for strawberry-picking and was given a small bowl of condensed milk to dip in the fruit. The fresh strawberries were big, sweet and tangy; the kids loved them. Strawberry-picking is good until May.  In summer, it changes to blueberries. There was also a tractor ride that only children from six years can take or must be accompanied by moms. We were so full with the strawberries we ate so we walked around a bit and explored the area further.  We decided that we wanted to see the Sheep Show so we took a ¥100 doggy bus ride to the place. The bus was so cute,  it howled and barked as it drove.

Then we visited the donkey, sheep, and goats. The kids adored them and they had loads of fun petting the cute animals. My son was amused as he got licked by one of the sheep. After the petting came the cow-milking.  Warning: not all kids will want to try this so be gentle with them.  The place was not only to try your hand at milking cows.  It was also a store where all mommies would love to go. We sampled cheese and ate fresh milk soft ice cream in strawberry or vanilla flavors. It was ¥300 a cone but it was good and refreshing. We wrapped up the trip by buying goodies at the dairy store, fresh caramel milk, cheese and milk cake as omiyages. Overall, it was such a fun trip. It was a long drive but definitely worth it!

About Samantha Mateo