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CHIBA

Mother Farm hopes to attract weary city dwellers to the countryside

by Edan Corkill

Staff Writer

Hisakichi Maeda is best known as the founder of the Sankei Shimbun and developer of the Tokyo Tower. But his interests spread to more down-to-earth enterprises, too.

In 1962, four years after opening what was then Japan’s highest structure, Maeda opened a farm on a 250-hectare plot of land at Kanozan on Chiba Prefecture’s Boso Peninsula. Remembering now in leaner times his mother had said their family would be all right as long as they had a cow, he called his new project Mother Farm, and opened it to the public.

The farm now boasts hundreds of sheep, cows, alpacas, goats and pigs and is a popular tourist destination for urban families seeking to get a taste of the country. And spring is one of the most popular seasons for visiting.

Through May 26, Spring Festa 2013 is being held — a celebration centered around the birth of new lambs. Children are even able to have their photographs taken with the lambs.

Other highlights of the season are the farm’s vast fields of rape blossoms, which turn bright yellow as the flowers come into bloom this time each year. And in addition to all of the signs of spring, there is the usual entertainment of sheep-shearing shows, butter- and cheese-making workshops, strawberry picking and more.

Mother Farm is accessible via a free shuttle bus from Kimitsu Station in Chiba Prefecture. Admission is ¥1,500 for adults and ¥800 for children. For more information, visit www.motherfarm.co.jp.