Mother Farm 「マザー牧場」 is an oasis away from the concrete jungle and is a place where both the young and old can visit to get closer to nature. It’s a good place for city dwellers to escape to and have a personal encounter with a variety of farm animals, enjoy seasonal flowers, fruit picking and other interesting hands-on experiences. In addition, the air is cool and fresh as the farm is located 300m above sea level.
About 800,000-900,000 people visit Mother Farm annually due to its close proximity to Tokyo and both Narita and Haneda Airports. It is one of the top 3 theme parks in Chiba Prefecture and occupies a land area 4 times bigger than Tokyo Disneyland.
Yamanoue Gate 「山の上ゲート」
Origin of Mother Farm’s name
The Mother Farm was founded in 1962 by Mr. Hisakichi Maeda who started Sankei Shinbun Daily Newspaper and Tokyo Tower.
His parents lives in suburbs of Osaka and were so poor that his mother often said, “if we had just one more cow, our life would be so much more easier.”
Her words had always remained on his mind and he felt that the stock-raising industry would be necessary in the future lives of the Japanese.
There are many attractions at the farm and it would definitely be a busy day if you attempt to cover everything in the same day! The most popular activity at the moment is meeting the alpacas and having pictures taken with them.
Daily attractions featuring animals include the following:
• Agrodome Show “Sheep Show” – a funny sheep show from New Zealand with a sheep shearing demonstration
This show is somewhat similar to the shows that I’ve seen in New Zealand and it’s always amazing to see how fast it takes for a sheep to be sheared. The audience can go on stage for picture-taking with the sheep after the show.
• Agrodome Show “The Sheepdog and His Friends” – a show featuring sheep, sheep dogs, llamas and ostriches
• Duck’s Parade
• Sheep’s Grand Parade (no parade during July & August) – herding 150 sheep along the path
• Piggy Race – Children and piglets running together
• Rabbit and Guinea Pig Hugging – pet and cuddle cute rabbits and guinea pigs
• Milking Experience – try your hand at milking the cows
Horse riding is also available at separate charges.
Another highlight is the Mother Farm Tour (Adult ¥1200, Child ¥700) where you ride on the tractor train for a tour of Makiba Farm. The rides last about 35 mins and you’ll get to feed the lambs, sheep and alpacas along the tour route. There is a viewing point along the tour route where on a clear day you can see Mt Fuji and the entire Tokyo Bay.
The fields on the mountain are covered with many seasonal flowers which you can enjoy viewing during your visit. Some of flowers are:
• Narcissus 「水仙」 (Late Dec-Feb)
• Wintersweet 「ロウバイ」 (Mid Jan-Mid Feb)
• Poppy 「ポピ」 (Feb-Early May)
• Plum 「梅」 (Mar)
• Rape flowers 「菜の花」 (Mid Feb-Mid Apr) – Rapeseed oil is made from these flowers and the farm boasts to have Kanto’s largest field of rape flowers.
• Cherry Blossoms 「桜」 (Mid Mar-Mid Apr)
• Hydrangea 「あじさい」 (June-July)
• Kochia 「コキア」（別名：ほうき草） (Late July-Nov) – this is also known as fireweed, burning bush or summer cypress and has been used for making brooms
• Salvia 「サルビア」 (Aug – Early Oct)
• Cosmos 「コスモス」 (Sept-Oct)
Flower picking is available for a fee and you can pick rape flowers and poppies depending on the season.
Fruit and vegetable picking is also a seasonal activity and you can pick blueberries (Late July-Aug), strawberries (Mid Jan – Late May), sweet potato (Mid Sept-Early Nov), kiwi fruit (Nov) and cherry tomatoes (Dec-Late May). They limit the number of people daily to avoid over-harvesting. Check the latest schedules for more details and pricing.
A number of interesting Hands-On Experiences are available and they include:
• Butter making
• Making blueberry or strawberry jam (seasonal)
• Cheese making
• Making sheep figurine and other handicrafts
• Pottery painting
• Ice cream making
Do note that prior reservations are required for the above activities.
Those who want a bit more excitement can head over to the Waku Waku Land & Amusement Park 「わくわくランド」, where they can try bungy jumping and go-carting.
A 30m tall ferris wheel and a card maze (Gururi Forest Adventure) are also in this area.
There are fireworks displays on certain nights in Summer (Aug/Sept) and the ferris wheel will be also lighted up, thus creating a romantic atmosphere.
This year will be the first time that they are having “Winter Illumination” where the farm is lighted up in the evenings from 22nd Nov 2012 (Thu) – 6th Jan 2013 (Sun) daily, and 12th Jan 2013 (Sat) – 24th Feb 2013 (Sun) on weekends and holidays and also Valentine’s Day 14th Feb (Wed).
There is a camping ground (only available in summer) and cottages fully equipped with shower and kitchen facilities which are available for rent.
During my visit, there was a festival that weekend and some booths were setup which featured local produce and foodstuffs from both Kimitsu City 「君津市」 and Futtsu City 「富津市」.
There were also several mascots wandering around and they seemed to be extremely popular with the crowd, so I decided to check them out…
Kimipyonn 「きみぴょん」 is Kimitsu City’s mascot 「君津市キャラクター」 and was created based on one of their local flowers.
Futtsun 「ふっつん」 is Futtsu City’s mascot 「富津市おもてなしキャラクター」.
I only managed to get my picture taken with Mammomama 「マーモママ」, one of Mother Farm’s mascots.
A popular dining option at Mother Farm is the Genghis Khan barbecue 「ジンギスカン」 where food is cooked on a grill at your table. Some of the items available on the menu are ribeye steaks, homemade sausages, seafood, wagyu beef, lamb and pork.
There are 3 restaurants at which you can enjoy this Genghis Khan barbecue meal. I dined at the “Barbecue Terrace” 「バーベキューテラス」 and had the Lamb (from New Zealand) and Pork set which comes with vegetables and it was really good! The ingredients were fresh and the homemade dipping sauce was tasty! Lovely scenery can be admired whilst dining and coupled with the cool mountain air, this barbecue was certainly a refreshing experience for me.
Serving size for 5 persons:
This is the grill which you use to cook your food on.
It was a satisfying meal (and yes, you’ll need to wear a bib)!! ^_^
There is a nice view from the Barbecue Terrace…
More eating places…
One of the best-selling items at the farm is their Soft Serve Ice Cream 「フトクリーム」 (¥300) which is made from fresh milk! Besides the original milk flavour, it also comes in flavours like strawberry, blueberry and chocolate, depending on seasonal availability.
Both Blueberry and Milk flavours were available when I was there and I wanted to try both so I got the best of both worlds and ordered “Mix” 「ミックス」 which was a combination of both flavours. The ice cream was rich and creamy and was absolutely delicious!!
Another highly recommended dish is the “Makiba Milk Ramen” 「まきばのミルクラーメン」. I didn’t manage to try it so it’s on my must-eat list for my next visit!
There are many souvenirs available at the gift shops and some of the items on sale include home-made ham & sausages, wines, cheesecake, yoghurt, ice cream, Mother Farm Milk & Jersey Milk (limited quantities produced), jams and milk candy.
Here’s a look at some of the other souvenir items available at the gift shop.
I bought some interesting milk candy which came in different flavours and looked like sticks of chewing gum but the texture was firmer.
The strawberry and cheese versions were a little chewy.
On the other hand, the milk candy was a bit crunchy and tasted like fresh milk but in sort of a crunchy milk powder form. It’s hard to try to imagine the texture and you’ll just have to try it for yourself! LOL…
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the farm and they even have special commemorative goods on sale in their souvenir shops.
Ink Stamp collectors will be pleased to know that there are stamps available at the information centres within the farm. I obtained these two from the Yamanoue Information Centre:
Verdict: Overall, it’s a nice place for a day out with the family where you can enjoy good food and lots of interesting activities.
Mother Farm 「マザー牧場」
940－3, Tagura, Futtsu City, Chiba Prefecture 299-1601
Feb to Nov 09：00 – 17:00 (Weekdays 09:30 – 16:30)
Dec to Jan 09:30 – 16:00 (Weekdays 10:00 – 16:00)
Hours may be extended depending on the season, especially during the holiday season. Check their website for the latest schedules and the specific dates when they are closed.
Individual – Adults ¥1500, Child ¥800
Group (20 & above) – Adults ¥1100, Child ¥600
Kids – 3 years old & below enter free.
JR Uchibo Line: Tokyo Station 「東京駅」 → Kimitsu Station 「君津駅」
Aqua-Line Nonstop Bus is available from the following stations to Kimitsu Station:
• Tokyo Station, Yaesu Exit
• Shinjuku Station West Exit
• Shinagawa Station East Exit
• Haneda Airport No. 12
• Kawasaki Station East Exit No. 34
• Yokohama Station East Exit No. 18
Bus (6 round trips on weekdays, 9 round trips on weekends and holidays) from Sanukimachi Station. Contact the farm for the latest detailed schedule on the hours of operation.
Free Shuttle Bus (1 round trip per day) from Kimitsu Station on JR Uchibo Line (※Reservations are required： +81-439-37-3211):
JR Kimitsu Station (South Exit) 10:40 → Mother Farm 11:20
Mother Farm 15:30 → JR Kimitsu Station 16:10
There is also a Non-Stop Bus (1 round trip on weekends and holidays from March to November) from Kisarazu Station (contact the farm for the latest detailed schedule):
JR Kisarazu Station (East Exit) 09:50 → Mother Farm 10:30
Mother Farm 15:20 → JR Kisarazu Station 16:00