Let’s take a trip around the rangelands of Aso to explore their blessing!
Wherever you turn, you find yourself faced with vast grasslands that stretch out in all direction. And awaiting you there are beautiful cows that maintain the landscapes as they are grazing lazily.
The wonderful green meadows of Aso have been maintained, cared for, and protected for over 1000 years by the cooperation of humans and livestock. But that is only the recorded history. By analyzing the soil evidence seem to indicate that these grasslands have been here for at least 7000 years!
Every year as March approaches and spring lures around the corner, the rangelands of Aso change appearance through a fierce and wild display. Along Kusasenri, Komezuka, and the outer rim of the Aso caldera, fires flare as the people of Aso methodically burn the withered grasslands.
This is an important step in maintaining the vast plains which both eradicate harmful insects and ensures that the grass fields won’t be overtaken by trees and shrub. One explanation for why the people of Aso originally started to grow grass and went through the dangerous and tiring work of maintaining these vast plains is that the grass was used to fertilize the soil that had been ruined by volcanic activity.
The newly burnt fields and mountains colored in black is a rare and mysterious sight that you only can experience during this period.
And barely a month after, that dark looming scenery magically transforms into a fresh green meadow of soft grass. This nutritious grass then becomes the food that raises the cows and horses as they leisurely graze in the Aso scenery.
This circle of efforts that have been continued since times past and so protected the grasslands also bring other benefits. One of them is the existence of high-quality milk and dairy products that have earned praise all over Japan.
“ASO MILK” is a brand that is sold and loved in all corners of Japan and all of it is produced at Abe Farm, right in the middle of Aso. We asked Abe-san about his thoughts about dairy farming.
“We wish to be a farm that coexists with nature.”
“Grass fields that stretch as far as eyes can reach, clean and fresh air, crystal-clear spring water, right in the middle of this flourishing nature is Abe farm.
We believe that to raise cows you need to raise grass and to raise grass you have to raise earth. This conviction is why we are particular about caring for the earth to ensure that healthy nutritious grass will grow and become the best food possible for the cows. But it isn’t only the grazing, we are also particular about the fodder by using rice plants and recycling food to reduce waste.
And, of course, the cows only drink the natural groundwater that has been filtered through Aso’s boundless nature.
In this way, we try to put in as much care into the food of the cows as we would with our food. And from these cows that have been raised peacefully in these extensive grounds, milk with a natural sweetness is born. This milk is tightly packed with all the blessings of Aso.
We continue to strive towards a life in harmony with nature and to be a Farm where cows and humans can connect. That is our wish.”
The dairy farmers of Aso care for nature all while pouring their love into raising happy cows and producing top-quality milk.
Address: 47-1 Mikubo, Aso, Kumamoto 869-2302
And if “Milk” and “Aso” are the keywords this is a place you should visit!
“Aso Milk Farm” (Aso Miruku Bokujo)
In the restaurant you can enjoy milk, meat, and more that have been produced at Aso Milk Farm. It doesn’t get more locally produced than this!
If you make a reservation beforehand you can try different experiences such as making butter from newly milked milk!
Furthermore, you can also try horse riding and interact with the animals that are raised on Aso Milk Farm. Especially recommended for traveling families!
And after having enjoyed yourselves to your heart’s content, recharge some energy with freshly made soft ice cream using the richly flavored Jersey milk. Nothing tastes better in the Japanese summer heat!
I hope you find the time and opportunity to visit Aso Milk Farm where you can fully experience one of the many blessings born from Aso’s nature.
As in many places in Japan, you can’t pay with card in any of the facilities at Aso Milk Farm so make sure to bring cash!
Opening hours: 10:00 – 17:00
Regular holiday: Unspecified (During the winter season Aso Milk Farm has many days off so make sure to check in advance)
Entrance fee: 400 yen/person (3 years or older)
Address: 3944-1 Kawahara, Nishihara, Aso District, Kumamoto 861-2404