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August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

The Equine Museum

A little bit of history on a pleasant Wednesday afternoon was refreshing after being cooped up in my apartment all day. Museums are usually not at the top of my to-do list, but today was an exception. The Equine Museum of Japan and Horse Memorial Park are two very wonderful places I think everyone should visit because here is where western-style horse racing began in Japan, over a hundred years ago in 1860. The museum has many very nice exhibits on display both on the first and the second floors. On the first floor you can see the very first Emperor's Cup of Japan in silver with newspaper snippets in English of The Emperor Hesei and other dignitaries from Holland and the U.K., who by the way were the two countries that introduced western-style horse racing to Japan. There's also a full scale model of a horse in the lobby area next to the entrance on the first floor which you can snap photos of. On the second floor, you have your seasonal exhibition room, which by the way changes every season, that displays a different set of murals, scrolls and paintings from different times in history.

In May the exhibition is supposed to change to summer themes which I think will be very interesting as the themes they had on display today was winter and spring combined. As you walk along in this exhibition area you can see first hand a full scale model of an Edo style house replete with all the furnishing of that era. There's also another full scale horse and barn with audio sound played in the back ground giving you a sense of the times. You can see pictures of war horses and mounted generals in full battle dress. Even the horses are adorned in battle gear.

Very interesting indeed. Leaving the exhibition room and heading over the room adjacent to it you can see the evolution of the horse from as far back as 5000 years to the present in the interactive hall. Here, children or adults can try their strength on some of the apparatuses and machines that highlight the strength and usefulness of a horse. You can look through a scope and get an idea of what horse vision is like, other things that you can do for example, mount on one of the wooden horse backs and compare the differences and similarities between a horse and a donkey. There're a many pictures along the walls showcasing horses and how they are bred and maintained. Something for the whole family is there. When you exit the museum itself you can take a stroll along the promenade and visit the horse park where you can either watch, pet, or ride some of the horses in the barn. Getting there: From Sakuragicho Station, take bus #21 to Toki no ue bus stop, you can't miss the museum. Or from Negishi Station(JR), take bus #103 and get off at Toki no ue bus stop, again, you can miss it. Admissions: 200 yen for adults; high school/junior high school/primary school; 30 yen Open daily from 9:30 to 5pm except Mondays and national holidays. Phone number is : 045-662-7581

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