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Quick and easy things to do in Yokohama #11

The Equine (Horse) Museum

The Equine Museum is a fascinating facility designed to educate and entertain, with exhibits for adults and children alike. Even with limited English support, a trip to its out-of-the-way location is worth the time and energy. It's also located beside a beautiful, expansive park - Negishi Forest Park - if you want to spend a few pleasant hours in the great outdoors.

The museum (and park) now occupies the location of Japan's first Western-style horse-racing track. All that remains now are three tiers of the old grandstand that you can see looming above the trees from parts of Yokohama. The museum itself displays an array of documents related to horses and horse racing on the first floor, but the big draw is its exhibition area downstairs. It strikes a perfect balance between science, archaeology and anthropology, with interactive displays and numerous artifacts.

Horses came into Japan around the 5th or 6th century, from both the Korean peninsula and the Ryuku island chain. Diagrams show the evolution of horses, and a dinosaur fossil reveals how small they used to be. Kids will love sitting int he various saddles for a ride, while all ages will probably find interest in the machine that demonstrates which horse emotions correspond to which ear movements. Look through some 'horse eye binoculars' to get an idea of their wide range of vision that helped them avoid predators!

Stroll down to the stables to see the 8 varieties of horses kept there. Staff exercise them in the ring in the afternoons and anyone is welcome to watch them from the benches. On Saturdays from 1.30, guests can feed the horses carrots and pet them (carrots provided). Once or twice a month, you can even ride a horse around the ring - guided, of course, by the staff.

ACCESS

Naka-ku, Negishi-dai 1-3

Tel: 045-662-8105

Take bus #21 from Sakuragicho or Negishi Station to Taki-no-ue. Bus #103 (Yokohama, Hinodecho, Isezakicho, Negishi Stations) also runs there. From Negishi, you can hike uphill (20 minutes). Parking available

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Former Deep Japan Writer

United Kingdom

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