Horsing around at Aichi Farm
Does milking a cow, riding a horse, petting and feeding farm animals, taking tractor rides, playing putt-putt golf and eating BBQ sound fun to you? For me, these things are quite nostalgic, and I jumped at the chance to do these on my last trip to Aichi. Just 35 minutes by car or an hour by train from Nagoya station, you can experience the joys of a Japanese farm at Aichi Bokujo , also known as Aichi Farm.
The minute I arrived at Aichi Bokujo, I saw the horses and got excited. In my youth, I spent my summers working with horses, so it brought back many fond memories. The small ponies are meant for children, but they have larger horses for adult riders. Children ride for ¥600-900 and adults can ride for ¥1,000. Granted, your riding options are limited to going in circles around the small corral. If you live in the area, you can inquire about their lessons and their riding club.
Up the hill from the pony corral, you will find the pony barn. There you can pet the ponies and, if you are feeling generous, you can pay ¥100 for three carrot slices to hand out to these hard workers. On weekends, you’ll see the staff switching the riding ponies with the ones in the barn quite a bit so that they don’t get too exhausted from hauling children. I think I spent several hundred yen to reward each pony. They were quite desperate for attention since most of the visitors seemed too scared to pet or get too close to them.
As you continue up the hill, you get to see the cow barn and milking area where the cows are milked daily. On weekends, you can even pay ¥400 to milk a cow by hand. Aichi Bokujo occasionally has butter making and other activities here, too.
The mini golf course is on the hillside further up, though we didn’t go inside. Walking along the course will bring you to the flower fields where they offer rides on carts attached to tractors. From there, you can circle around the block and head past the riding club’s private barn to end up at the petting zoo.
The petting zoo was also a highlight of the trip. Similar to the pony barn, the sheep, goats, deer, donkey and other animals were desperate to be petted and fed. I spent a lot of time with the animals and feeding them carrots. You could even pet an emu, so long as its snapping and hissing didn’t persuade you otherwise. When I was younger, my sister was chased by an emu, so I learned to give the animal a respectable amount of space. I never liked being chased by geese as a child, and emus are velociraptors in comparison. Even the look of these birds is prehistoric and worthy of a bit of caution, so please follow the advice of the signs that say, “Pet at your own risk.” There were plenty of kids and families performing their own variation of kimodameshi, daring each other to try and pet the emu.
Admission into the farm is free, though many of the activities are not. Make sure you have coins if you want to feed animals as the dispensers are coin operated or simple drop boxes that do not give change. If you want to try the BBQ Garden or do any activities, it’s best to get there as early as possible since the farm closes quite early. The BBQ Garden was already closed by the time we were hungry at around 5 p.m., so we needed to go elsewhere for food. They do have a fast food stand with various fried things and yaki soba, and they have a gelato and soft serve ice cream place opened a little later, so if you are desperate for food, there are options.