August 11, 2014

The Alpaca Farm in Nasu


Prepare to be charmed!

During our weekend in Nasu, we hopped on a bus from Nasu-yumoto to go say hi to alpacas! 

Nasu Alpaca Farm is the largest of its kind in Japan, with over 400 alpacas. In 1999, they started off with 200 alpacas that were chartered by air to Japan from the Andes. Although they struggled with taking care of the alpacas at first due to various reasons such as lack of medicine and medical knowledge regarding alpacas, after visitations from American veterinarians and importing medicine, the birthrate has stabilized in the recent years. 

The farm itself was fairly large and my friend and I started out just taking a stroll through the designated path, looking in on the alpacas roaming around inside the fenced areas. With their big fluffy body, perky ears, and eyes with the longest eyelashes I've ever seen, it was pretty darn hard not to fall for these shy but charming animals.

I'd actually never heard of alpacas until the Japanese fiber company Kuraray made a series of commercials featuring a fluffy white alpaca. I wasn't too sure what this commercial was actually promoting (...and still don't really) but it made a pretty big impression in Japan and alpacas became well known around 2009.

Obviously it's been a while since then but when my friend mentioned that there was an alpaca farm in Nasu, I had to go and see what these alpacas were all about! And lucky for us, we bumped into a Peruvian alpaca expert while we were there, who was kind enough to show us around and answer all our questions.

He explained that at this farm the alpacas get a haircut every two years. We were there a week ahead of their shearing season so they were at their peak fluffiness! We also learned that alpacas are native to the Andes region. When I asked about the alpacas in the wild, he surprised me by mentioning that currently all the alpacas are domesticated and have been that way for a while now. Who knew?

Alpacas are famous for their fleece, which is soft and water resistant. For that reason, very fine alpaca fiber is extremely valuable. One of the quirky things I noticed is that alpacas don't have any upper front teeth. They apparently don't need it as they feed on grass. Oh, and when they pee? They do it for a really really long time. At least a couple of minutes. (Too much information?)

I'm so glad we bumped into our "guide" because we had an amazing time learning about alpacas. He introduced us to the famous alpaca from the Kuraray commercials with the same amount of enthusiasm as when he introduced us to a blind alpaca. He said that sometimes they are born blind and/or deaf but receive the same amount of care and friendship from both the staff and the other alpacas. And I believe him because the minute he started talking, the blind alpaca perked up its ear and moseyed on over to be pet by him. It completely warmed my heart.

Have you ever spent time with alpacas? They are the sweetest animals ever. If you're ever in Nasu, you may enjoy an afternoon with an alpaca or two! x

Here are some photos:

Entrance was 800 yen for adults, 600 yen for jr high/high schoolers, and 400 yen for kids.
A brown alpaca enjoying the sunny day out in the field.
See? No front upper teeth!
When alpacas sit down, their hind legs look like they're kneeling.
Dainty legs!
This is my favorite picture of all time! Look at that expression!
This is the white alpaca from the commercial!
This was the baby corner, they were born this spring!
How can you resist this charming look?
This dark chocolate alpaca was prancing around for us to see.
Isn't this the fluffiest alpaca ever?
Our amazing guide taking an alpaca out for a walk.
This was his if-you-have-clean-hands-you-may-pat-me look (in my head).
So soft and warm!
We had a great day with our new furry friends!


1083 Oshima Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi JAPAN
栃木県那須郡那須町大字大島1083
TEL: 0287-77-1197
OPEN: 10:00am-4:00pm (closed Thursdays)
Entrance Fee: 800 yen

12 comments:

  1. Awwww! How cute is that?! I had no idea that they didn't have front teeth. Very interesting. And I love that they all look so calm and happy :) 癒された〜 <3 Thanks for sharing!

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    1. It was a day of 癒し for me, too! What is it about animals that seem to just whip all your stress away? They were the sweetest ;D

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  2. Funny. I never learned about alpcas till I came to Japan. Looks like a fun place to visit.

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    1. I didn't know until a few years ago either!

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  3. Oh my god, death by cute fluffiness ! they look so relaxed and friendly :)

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    1. My thoughts exactly Sacha! They were really calm and sweet :)

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  4. Alpacas are the best things in the whole entire world!!!

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  5. Hi Kaori, chanced upon your blog when looking up info on the Alpaca Farm. I'm interested to visit the fluffy alpacas and am wondering if you mind sharing the method of reaching there via public transportation from Nasushiobara station? =) Thanks heaps!

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    1. Hi Grace,

      Thanks for your comment! I hope you get a chance to visit the Alpaca Farm!

      Regarding getting to the Alpaca farm via public transportation, there's pretty much only one way to get there and that's by bus. If you want to start at Nasu-shiobara, you'll want to take the regular bus (Higashino bus line) to Nasu-yumoto, then change to the Nasu Tsutsuji-go bus (it only runs from April 29th to June 5th!), which will take you to the entrance of the Alpaca farm.

      The regular bus stop is on the West exit of Nasu-shiobara Station and it takes about 50min to Nasu-yumoto. Once you get off there, the Nasu Tsutsuji-go bus stop is located right across the street in front of the Nasu Tourism Association hut. It’s about 20-30min (6 stops) to the Alpaca farm.

      Just be careful because the Nasu Tsutsuji-go bus only runs 3 times a day, leaving Nasu-yumoto at 9:40am/11:40am/1:40pm and the bus heading back from the Alpaca farm leaves at 11:05am/1:05pm/3:00pm. If you miss your last bus coming back, you’ll have to call a cab.

      The regular bus runs from 7:45am and the last bus back to Nasu-shiobara station leaves Nasu-yumoto at 4:50pm. Although if you miss that bus, you have an alternative of getting on a later bus that stops at Kuro-iso Station, which is just one stop away from Nasu-shiobara by train.

      I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      PS: Here is a map of all the major bus stops and train stations I mentioned above:

      https://drive.google.com/open?id=1M9CUtIQjU3SDckpNvcT6zO9-QFE&usp=sharing

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  6. Hi Kaori,

    Thank you for the information! I plan to go there in the middle of June 2016.

    Reading your previous comment, it looks like the Nasu Tsutsuji-go bus is not operating after June 5th? Is there other way to reach the farm from Nasu-shiobara Station without taking cab?

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    1. I'm so sorry my reply is so late! I hope you somehow found a way to get here or the bus schedule was elongated.

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  7. Hi!
    Happen to see your post while finding ways to go to the ranch.
    Just to check if there's anyway from Tokyo to the ranch with public transport? Like shinsenken or JR?
    Planning to go during April!
    Looking forward to your reply!

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