Senbonmatsu Farm in Nasu-Shiobara is the ideal place to combine a farm visit with leisure activities, particularly for families with young children. The farm and ranch offer several hands on experiences, but there are also dozens of amusement rides on site. There is even a hot spring on the grounds. As well as several places to eat.
Senbonmatsu is a large farm with more than 500 cows. There are also horses, pigs, rabbits, dogs, goat and sheep. You can get up close and personal with the animals in the "fureai hiroba" or what we call a 'petting corner' in Ireland. Apart from the animal experiences there are several other ways to enjoy the farm. For one, they have a hot spring, or many people just come to grab a bite to eat from one of the many eateries. Naturally, they sell fresh ice-cream and dairy products too. The shop has a selection of meat and dairy products as well as souvenirs that make a nice present. Then there are all the activities on offer, which include but are not limited to archery, a bouncing castle play house, bungee trampoline, putter golf and even crafts. There are several ways to get around the farm too, such as by horse ride or horse and cart, bike hire, mini train and even a tuk-tuk. Seasonally, they have a hot air balloon ride which affords great views of the farm and Nasu-Shiobara beyond.
The farm is free in, but activities have individual costs. The farm is open 365 days a year.
By car: the farm is a short drive from Nishinasuno-Shiobara Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway. There is free parking for over 1000 cars.
By bus: there is a direct bus from JR Shinjuku Station to the farm. It needs to be reserved in advance. It takes two and a half hours one way and costs ￥2,470 (2020 price).
By public transport: take a JR Kanto bus from Nishi-Nasuno station bound for Shiobara Onsen Bus Terminal.
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Lynda has been in Japan for 20 years and blogging about Saitama on her personal blog insaitama.com for 14 of them. Despite its central location, just North of Tokyo, Saitama is still quite unknown to the international tourist, but frequented by domestic travelers. It is a great place to experience some off-the-international-tourist-trail locations and meet with locals and national tourists. I hope to introduce a taste of what there is to do and see in my articles on Japan Travel and help you with your Saitama travel planning. Be sure to stop by my website where you will find 600 things to do in Saitama and 400 active events!