Saddle up and head to Minamigaoka Dairy Farm (Minamigaoka bokujo), a fun destination that gives visitors a hands-on look at farm life.
Minamigaoka Dairy is indeed an active farm, full of animals, crops, and tractors, as you'd expect, with plenty of hands-on opportunities for visitors to get involved. For instance, there are places where visitors can pet and even feed the animals, including sheep, horses, and cows. In the back of the farm is a big, open track where you can take a turn going for a ride on a horse (which is tame enough for kids). One of the really nice parts was the accessibility and friendliness of the farm workers, who were more than happy to show guests what kind of work they're doing, and why.
The farm is also designed to be a kind of theme park, with lots to do and play with. For instance, there's an archery range where you can test your skills, a fishing pond, and even a mini golf course.
There's also the food. As the name suggests, dairy is indeed the focus of this farm. The farm has a large number of Guernsey cattle, a type of cow not among the majority of cattle found in Japan, which is renowned for the rich flavor of its milk. And the results? Spectacular. I am far from a milk expert, but the products made (and sold) on the farm from the Guernsey milk were phenomenal. A wide range of products made from it are available, from chocolate and butter to jam and bread. At a soft ice cream stand, the "Premium Vanilla" flavor was more expensive than any other soft ice cream cone I've ever seen, but it was so delicious that I would gladly buy it again every time I visit the farm.
The farm is a great destination for a family. There are plenty of activities geared towards kids, and you could spend most of the day poking around. For adults, it's a fun and whimsical place to spend an afternoon.
Minamigaoka Dairy Farm is located in the Nasu District of Tochigi Prefecture, a region well-known for its hot spring resort areas. It is best accessed by car, and there is a large parking area on the farm. There is no cost for entry.