*Update* – as of January 2022, our wonderful ride partners in Japan have decided to enjoy a well-earned retirement and are no longer offering horse riding holidays. We are very excited for the world to open up so we can find and road test another stellar trip in this unique destination!
Globetrotters Laura and Meredith White have completed a few rides with us, but when they went to Japan and road with Tanaka san, I think it’s safe to say they had the time of their lives! Laura couldn’t stop gushing about the whole adventure from start to finish, so we thought, why not share her feedback on our blog to inspire and encourage more globetrotters to take the plunge and sign up for a riding holiday in Japan. Even if riding in Japan has never crossed your mind, I just know you’ll be ready to pack your bags and jump on a plane after reading this brilliant feedback.
Were you happy with the globetrotting ride that was recommended to you or chosen by you?
Were there any stand-out experiences with the acommodation and meals that you would like to mention?
The Lodge Atelier we stayed at in Kobuchizawa was such gorgeous accommodation. The staff were so friendly and helpful throughout our stay and we stayed in a very spacious, western style room with a little balcony overlooking the mountains. It was beautiful. It was also a bonus to have the onsen to use at our leisure after long days in the saddle! That was a definite bonus! All the food was phenomenal & so plentiful!
Were you happy with the horse(s) that you rode?
I was EXTREMELY happy with the horses I rode. I was lucky enough to get to try 4 of the horses. I mainly rode Sebastian & Zaarla. Sebastion was so beautiful and had just the right amount of get up and go; once an endurance champion always an endurance champion. He was always ready to go but still felt safe all the time. I also rode Zaarla who was just stunning. Beautiful comfy paces, responsive and sooooo pretty! I also got to ride Dasha who was lots of fun and had a short bareback ride on Diver who was also great. My mum adored him and felt safe on him the whole ride which is very important to her.
Were you happy with the standard of tack on the ride?
Excellent tack; very comfy endurance saddles.
Did you have a favourite day or experience while on your globetrotting holiday?
Getting to ride bareback on the trails was my favourite. I rode Sebastian bareback on the trails (with a halter and one rein!) which was just so much fun. Cantering bareback on a beautiful horse in the Japanese country side was an experience I’ll never forget. Tanaka & Mayumi took it slow with us first, making sure that we were comfortable bareback in the arena first. It was Mum’s first time bareback riding and they made sure she felt safe and comfortable the entire time.
Riding Zaarla up Mt Yasugatake to 1560m altitude to overlook Mt Fuji and have a picnic lunch was another major highlight!
Seeing such a beautiful part of Japan which I didn’t even know existed on horseback (best way to explore a new place) was ANOTHER highlight. All of the scenery, trees, greenery, buildings were all spectacular.
In respect to your guides, were you happy with their level of service, knowledge of the environment and hospitality?
Tanaka san and Mayumi were amazing guides! They were kind enough to cater to what we wanted to do and see (e.g mum wanted to see some farming/produce as this is an interest of hers) and they were even so kind as to let us do some more riding on the last day at my request! This really topped off the whole trip for me; having one last ride on our final day was icing on the cake. They were also very safe and catered to the riding that we wanted to do and were happy to let me try different horses. They made mum feel at ease and selected a very appropriate horse for her.
Tanaka san and Mayumi were also excellent at being our own personal Japanese tour guides. They explained all of the history and answered all of our questions so well. They were just fabulous hosts and took us to the best eating spots. Although we had spent a few days beforehand in Tokyo, the food we ate with Tanaka san and Mayumi blew it out of the water. Soba noodles, sashimi, tempura and many more; we definitely did not go hungry!
In terms of value-for-money, how would you rate this particular ride?
Very good value for money as the food, accommodation and sight-seeing provided was excellent in addition to the spectacular riding experience.
Are there any other services or inclusions you would like to see added to this itinerary?
Double the riding time – make it 10 days haha! It was really great that we got to be involved with taking care of the horses (tacking up and grooming) which helped us bond with them. We both really enjoyed that aspect of the ride (especially me, as I don’t get to spend much time with horses).
We would LOVE a testimonial about your globetrotting experience to share on our social media channels:
When I arrived in Japan for the first time with my mum we struggled to comprehend the fact that we were going to be embarking on a horse riding trip in this country amongst all the hustle and bustle of crazy Tokyo. All my doubts subsided when we arrived by train to the picturesque country side ‘town’ of Kobuchizawa. Completely surrounded by mountains, it felt like an equestrian oasis, complete with amazing restaurants, shops and breathtaking scenery and trails rich with Japanese history.
We were welcomed and looked after by our superb hosts, Tanaka san & Mayumi, from the minute we stepped off the train. Their excellent hospitality continued throughout the trip from taking us on a mountain trek overlooking Mt Fuji to riding bareback in the forest aboard their beautiful Arabian horses. We were also treated to the most amazing Japanese cuisine, a traditional tea ceremony and origami making in their excellent company. I would not have wanted to see Japan any other way than on beautiful horses with superb company. Would do it again in a heart beat!
See, I told you you’d be inspired. So are you ready to sign up for your horse riding holiday in Japan yet? Click here for departure dates and prices.