As part of our new series, 'Hop in Your Car and Drive,' comes our second installment: Towada Horseback Riding. Located about two and a half hours from the Tsugaru area, Western Hat Japan provides a great weekend retreat to the scenic Towada countryside. Your hour-long tour (60 and 90 minutes sessions are both available) will be guided by two Japanese instructors who, despite limited English ability, possess just enough to make you feel comfortable. After an introductory riding lesson in the stable, you'll be led along a path that winds through the farm and forest and past a training site for yabusame (traditional Japanese mounted archery). Be sure to wear clothing that allows for maximum mobility and proper attire to keep you warm. It gets chilly in the countryside! Finally, be aware that unlike tours in the US, Japanese instructors believe in a "headfirst" approach to learning, i.e. they will introduce you once to trotting and cantering in the stable and will then ask you to do the same while out on the trail. If you feel uncomfortable with this pace, just let your guide know beforehand. Tsugaru-chan enjoyed her visit very much and highly recommends it, but will stick to eating horses in the future (a Tsugaru-area delicacy) instead of riding them.
The Skinny: Horseback Riding in Towada
Price: 3500 yen for one hour
Hours: Coming soon...