Model tour promoting tourism with Tokachi horse culture

Tokachi City Design, the managing company of several businesses located in Obihiro City including “Hotel Nupka”, will develop new types of sightseeing tours using Tokachi horse culture. A model tour was held from November 6 to 8. It provided a hands-on experience of the history of the Tokachi area as it grew together with the horses that were used in land development and agriculture, and also featured visits to places such as the Obihiro Racecourse to see Banei sled horse racing. This was the first model tour ever to include these features. Tokachi City Design plans to identify points for improvement in the tour and work towards offering it as a commercial tour from the next fiscal year onward.

■ Cheers for “horse logging”

Tokachi City Design also runs the “Basha Bar”, a horse-drawn carriage pulled by a banba horse that travels around downtown Obihiro. The project was motivated by the company’s belief that there are even more ways to use this kind of horse culture as a resource for tourism.

This model tour promoting Tokachi area horse culture was three days and two nights. Ten tourism business insiders from within and outside of Hokkaido participated. The participants first learned about the history of horses bred for agriculture and military use at the Obihiro Centennial City Museum, and then went to the Obihiro Racecourse in a horse-drawn carriage. They also learned more about horses at the Horse Museum attached to the Racecourse.

At the Memuro tourism ranch “Tsurugizan Dosankomaki”, participants interacted with Hokkaido Washu horses (Dosanko horses). At the Fujicho “Hiroyuki Mochida Horsemanship” ranch in Obihiro, they met the “Quarter Horse” breed that is used for horse riding in the US. The participants experienced firsthand the Tokachi “land of horses” with its many different horse breeds.

In Obihiro woodland, participants learned about “horse logging”, in which horses pull logs by rope for transport. They cut actual Japanese larch trees with tools including the serrated-edged “madonoko saw”, and had a horse pull the logs. When the banba horse named “Cup” (male, 6 yrs. old) pulled the six logs of about four to eight meters long, cheers of, “Wow,” rose from the group.

A male participant from Tokyo who had participated with his wife praised the tour by saying, “We were able to experience firsthand an environment where horses live close to people, and get an up-close understanding of what horses do. The tour was immensely fulfilling.” Manager Nagata of the Tokachi City Design Horse Culture Department expressed satisfaction, “The tour received even better reactions than we had imagined. We very much want to deploy a commercial version of this unique and highly praised tour.”

This horse culture tourism development endeavor is an initiative that employs a national government subsidiary enterprise, and future plans include the “Airport Limousine Horse-Drawn Carriage” tour in which participants can enjoy viewing the farm village scenery of Nakasatsunai from Obihiro Airport on a horse-drawn carriage. Moving forward, the plan is to incorporate participant feedback into efforts to enhance and commercialize the tour.

Monitor tour participants learning firsthand about horse log pulling


Obihiro woodland