Mother Farm in Chiba, located at the outskirts of Tokyo, is an increasingly popular destination for families visiting Tokyo with kids. However, getting to Mother Farm from central Tokyo via public transport, while not impossible, is quite a hassle. So we decided to visit it as part of our self-drive trip last December.
Getting to Mother Farm from Tokyo
According to their website, you need to catch the train to Kimitsu Station. You can use Hyperdia to search for the fastest train route from the station near your hotel. But as an example, if you are coming from Shinjuku, you are looking at at least one transfer. The train ride will take about 2 hours one-way and cost 1490yen per pax.
From Kimitsu, you will still need to catch a shuttle bus which requires prior reservation by calling +81-439-37-3211. The shuttle bus has a fixed timing:
- JR Kimitsu Sta 10:40 → Mother Farm 11:20
- Mother Farm 15:30 → JR Kimitsu Sta 16:10
Looking at the above, I reckoned that if we used public transport from our apartment in Shinjuku, we will have to leave at 8am to walk to the station and catch the 8.35am train from Shinjuku station – one of the busiest and most confusing train stations in the world. The kids may get to experience being pushed into a train by train conductors for the first time in their life. (I already have that experience and I’m not sure I want to repeat that.) Then there is the mad-dash to make the transfer at Kinshicho within 3 minutes WITH THE KIDS. And we will only arrive at Mother Farm at 11.20am. That means we would have spent 3.5 hours getting there – and another 3.5 hours getting back. And we will only be at the farm from 11.20pm to 3.30pm. 7 hours transport for a 4 hours visit?? That’s not my style.
Hence, I recommend renting a car if you want to visit Mother Farm from Tokyo.
Mother Farm Review
Okay! So we rented a car to go to Mother Farm on day 2 of our trip. We spent the previous day on the flight, so we decided to just sleep until we woke up naturally instead of setting alarm clocks or morning calls. By the time we reached Mother Farm, it was about 10.30am.
The first thing we did when we arrived (besides buying tickets) was to pick up a stamp rally booklet. Stamp rally is an activity commonly found at tourist attractions throughout Japan. You will get a brochure or activity book of some sort with spaces to stamp and your task is to go around the attraction looking for the stamps.
While stamp rallies are usually free, the one at Mother Farm cost 200yen per booklet. It was placed at a stand near the entrance and you are just supposed to drop 200yen into a box while you pick up a booklet. Nobody will check because the Japanese are just too honest about stuff like that. We didn’t want to deprive the kids since they LOVE stamp ralles and picked up two booklets and dropped 400 yen into the box before heading off.
By the time we got our tickets and the kids picked up their stamp rally booklets, we saw a crowd gathering for the 11am Pig Race and decided to join in. There are 3 races per day: At 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
They asked for volunteers to join in the race. As in no, I’m not saying the volunteers are pigs. The volunteers were there to help chase the pigs towards the finishing line.
It was hilarious because the pigs were super fast (like seriously, I didn’t knew pigs could run that fast!) and the daddy was struggling to keep up with the pig (of course, he was carrying a toddler so you can’t blame him).
Eventually the staff took over to complete the race because it started raining. Before the race ended, we all raced toward the shelter, so I’m not sure who won.
There were a few cafes around Mother Farm. So we first stopped at the one nearest to the Pig Race area to seek shelter. Since we were there, we decided to pick up some steaming hot buns and hot chocolate.
After the rain subsided to a drizzle, we headed out to the petting farm which was just next to the pig race area.
Fureai ふれあい in Japanese basically means touching. So when I saw Fureai Farm, I figured it was probably the typical goat / rabbit / hamster feeding and petting zone.
But omg, I was so WRONG! I mean.. what are those??? I don’t even know. They look like little rabbits cross kangaroos? Since they were in the Fureai Farm, I assumed they were friendly and safe to touch.
They could hop pretty fast and the kids had to chase them around the farm to try to touch them. Eventually, the kids learnt the trick of sneaking up to the animals from behind to pet them.
Then out of nowhere, a capybara appeared!
A capybara in a petting farm! Even I wanted to go and pet it. Okay, I did pet it, but nobody was around to take photo for me since I was the photographer.
The kids loved playing with the capybaras so much!
And apparently in the afternoon at 3pm, the capybara would go for onsen baths?? I would have loved to see this.
Unfortunately the weather was very bad when we were there and we ended up leaving early. Here’s a photo I found on Mother Farm’s Facebook Page.
While we were there, it was not the capybaras enjoying an onsen but the ducks.
‘Ducks in a petting farm??’ You may wonder.
Yeah, little MY took the FUREAI concept all the way and went to pet the duck.
There were also a sheep and cow but they were *yawnz* boring so the kids ignored them.
I mean, why pet a cow when you could pet a capybara right?
After the kids had enough fun petting the animals, it was time to move on to the upper part of the farm. Mother Farm was HUGE and the other half of the farm was located at the top of the hill.
There was a bus to bring visitors to various parts of the farm. The bus costs 200 yen per adult / 100 yen per child (age 4 to 11). We decided to walk since the weather was nice and cold. I love walking in the cold! Not the sub-zero snowing kind of cold but the colder than Singapore kind of cold. If you know what I mean.
Rabbit & Hamster House
I was a good thing we decided to walk because we passed by the rabbit and hamster house while the petting session was still on!
The kids were given gloves and a towel each and they were free to choose which rabbit or hamster they wanted to cuddle. MY went for a little hamster (and insisting on the particular black and white one) while MF went for a bigger rabbit.
Awwww… I love their expressions when they were cuddling the animals!
After the end of the cuddling session, we continued our climb up to the rest of Mother Farm.
Climb Climb Climb…
So up the slopes we climbed. I was frankly quite exhausted but it was nothing to the super energetic kids.
Along the way, I stopped to enjoy the scenery and remaining autumn foliage. Not much left in December but still better than nothing.
I thought the scenery towards the top reminded me a lot of Cinging in Taiwan.
By the time we reached the top, we realised we had missed the duck race. AWWWW…. So much for not setting an alarm clock. We entertained ourselves by checking out the llamas (I think?) nearby instead.
We reached the horses area and for 300 yen, we could purchase a cup of carrots to feed the horses. Okay, I wanted to let the kids feed the horses because they had enjoyed it a lot at Animal Resort Singapore. But I didn’t have any money with me then. The husband had decided to camp himself at the Agrodome while the kids and I ran along to check out the horses and I left all the bags with him. So too bad, no carrots for the poor horse.
At 1pm, we went back to the Agrodome to catch the dog shepherding show.
Turns out the show was not just about dog shepherding. A guy whom I thought looked uncannily like Jay Chou came on and brought out a bunch of other animals with him.
Don’t you think he looks like Jay Chou?? No? Maybe it’s the whole 牛仔很忙 get up. I amused myself throughout the show by imagining him to be Jay Chou. Like Jay Chou getting kissed by a horse.
Jay Chou chasing after an ostrich.
Jay Chou takes a bow. End of concert.
There was actually an amusement park on the upper part of Mother Farm. But MY decided to poop during the show at Agrodome and we left the diaper-bag in the car. So we had to go back down the hill to get it. And there was no way we were going back up that hill after going down. So we skipped the amusement park and went on to the cows section.
MF had a go at milking a cow.
And I couldn’t resist popping into the souvenir shop nearby to see what snacks they had. I bought their Mother Farm Rare Cheesecake – it was pretty good.
While we were enjoying our cheesecake, a lady from the farm told us that it was going to rain. We looked at the sky and it was indeed starting to look very gloomy. So we quickly started making our way back to the exit.
We had our lunch at the main cafe near to the entrance. As we were eating, the rain got heavier and heavier until it was pouring. Hence we decided to go back to Shinjuku after lunch instead of waiting out for the rain to stop.
We only spent half a day at Mother Farm, but we could easily have spent the whole day there if not for the bad weather. The kids had so much fun and I definitely recommend visiting despite the hassle of getting there from central Tokyo. But I really suggest you rent a car and drive there.
The farm was HUGE and we did not even get to the fruit-picking section. At different times of the year, you can pick different fruits or vegetables at Mother Farm.
If you wish to experience both fruit-picking and animals interaction, you definitely should plan to spend the whole day at Mother Farm. In winter, there is illumination in the evening.
We had originally planned to stay at Mother Farm until the evening for the illumination. But unfortunately for the bad weather, we missed the illumination. If you are visiting during the illumination period (please check official website for exact dates), I recommend you rent a car, spend the day at Mother Farm and catch the illumination. After that, drive on to Tokyo German Village for the illumination there.
The drive from Mother Farm to Tokyo German Village is about 30 minutes. If you do them together, I find that it makes your one-day car rental and the time & toll fee spent to get to Chiba more worthwhile.
If you are visiting Mother Farm during the year-end holidays, please check their website carefully their closure dates! The farm has scheduled closures around the second week of December and January every year.
Information on Mother Farm:
Japanese Name: マザー牧場
Map Code (what is this?): 769 292 438
- Adults 1500 Yen
- Children (Age 4 to Elementary School age) 800 Yen
Parking Fee: 900 Yen per car
- February – November: 0900 – 1700 (weekends) / 0930 – 1630 (weekdays)
- December – January: 0930 – 1600 (weekends) / 1000 – 1600 (weekdays)
- Illumination: 1400 – 2000 (check for exact dates of illumination)
- Note year-end closures around second week of Dec and Jan.
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