By Sandra Isaka
If you have little ones who love animals and you're looking for a fun day out in Ibaraki Prefecture, the Ishioka Farm Ostrich Kingdom is well worth a visit. There are over 1000 ostriches on-site here (the largest number of ostrich species in all of Japan) and a host of other animals too, including alpacas, capybaras, guinea pigs, chicks and goats. There are also plenty of opportunities for children to interact with the animals, including the chance to hand-feed rabbits or milk cows.
If you do get hungry yourself, the farm has an on-site cafe with a range of different eats on offer, but there's one catch - many of the dishes are made with ostrich meat, which may be a little confronting after you've been interacting with the animals. There are ostrich burgers, ostrich meat curries, omelets made with ostrich eggs, ostrich hot dogs and more. You can even buy ostrich eggs to take home and cook.
From June until September, the Ishioka Farm Ostrich Kingdom also has an area where you can pick fresh blueberries. You can either enjoy them while you're there (they offer hour-long all-you-can-eat sessions) or take what you've picked home with you for 200 yen per 100 grams.
Ishioka Farm Ostrich Kingdom is easy to reach by private vehicle. It's located approximately twenty minutes drive from the Chiyoda Ishioka IC on the Joban expressway. Free parking is available on site and is plentiful.
If you are accessing the area via public transport, the closest stop is Hatori Station on the JR Jōban Line. The farm is just under ten minutes by taxi from the station itself.
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