Mother Farm, aka Mother Bokujo (or マザー牧場 if you are so inclined), is a fantastic family outing approximately 2 hours south of Tokyo in the verdant Chiba countryside. When you have had enough of Tokyo’s grey, the Boso Peninsula’s spring flora provides respite. The hills are alive...with the sounds of barnyard animals.
Situated atop Mt. Kanozan, not far from popular Nokogiriyama (with its gargantuan Buddha statue), there are lovely views of Tokyo Bay and even distant Mt.Fuji on clear days. The multitude of attractions to occupy your time and attention include:
Interactive animal shows
The sheep show in the agrodome is fun for all ages. Watch sheepdogs plying their trade, sheep-shearers denuding their ewes, and other industrious farm activities displayed for your education and amusement.
Want to milk a cow? Cuddle with rabbits and guinea pigs? Race with squealing piglets? You won’t have these options in the big city, so Mother Farm is the place you want to be.
Amusement park rides
Go for ride on the Ferris wheel, try bungy-jumping from 21 meters up in the air, take a spin in the go-carts, and enjoy other rides for nominal extra fees.
Leaving every 15 minutes, these are a great way to take in the whole scope of the farm. You can get a feel for the lay of the land before exploring further on foot. While on the tractor tour you can meet and feed the friendly resident animals, or even shake hands/hoofs with them if you like.
Seasonal fruit picking
There is always something in season at Mother Farm. Pick strawberries and cherry tomatoes from mid-winter through late-May, blueberries from late-July to the end of August, sweet potatoes in the fall, and kiwi fruit in November. Call ahead if you want to be sure your target is ripe and available.
Come hungry, as you will want to try the farm-fresh butter, cheese and ice cream made on-site with local milk; the wonderful jams containing hand-picked fruits; and other delectables such as hams, sausages, cheesecake, and frozen yogurt.
For more substantial meals, Mother Farm has a variety of restaurants and cafes to suit different palates, though the specialty is unquestionably the Genghis Khan grilled mutton barbecue. This amazing feast is best enjoyed on the outdoor patio on a sunny day.
Speaking of sunshine, springtime cherry blossoms and other flowers make beautiful subjects for photographers and nature-lovers. Autumn foliage is also quite colorful, with deeper reds typical of the changing leaves. Mother Farm is a year-round destination, with a different character in different seasons.
Entry tickets are very reasonable at JPY 1,500 for junior high school students and older, or JPY 800 for elementary school students and younger. Hours of operation are 9am to 5pm on weekends and public holidays, 9:30am to 4:30pm weekdays, and 9:30/10:00am to 4pm during the winter months of December and January.