Urakawa Town, Hokkaido｜Japan Preschool Exchange
Urakawa Town is nestled in a rich natural environment surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Hidaka Mountains. It boasts a climate that is cool in summer, relatively mild in winter with little snowfall, making it a comfortable living environment even for those new to Hokkaido.
Urakawa is a town known for its horse breeding, being one of the leading producers of thoroughbred horses in the country. With approximately 200 farms, including the JRA Hidaka Training and Research Center, the town is home to over 3,000 thoroughbred horses, establishing itself as a town with a strong horse presence.
In the forest, everything around becomes a teaching material. For children, we provide the joy of becoming masters of play by interacting with plants and living creatures. For adults, we offer the richness of time spent away from the hustle and bustle, allowing for meaningful moments with family.
Urakawa Friend Forest Kindergarten
A distinctive school building, abundantly using wood, and a surrounding forest offer numerous opportunities for learning through nature experiences. We also have programs available for elementary school children to participate in.
Children's Time at Urakawa
Immersed in the beauty of a sprawling forest, join us for a unique experience at the Urakawa Friend Forest Kindergarten. Let us to unveil the exciting activities and memorable experiences that await you in this enchanting setting.
Exploration and Learning True to its name, ‘Forest Kindergarten’, we prioritize learning through nature experiences. The expansive Kashiwa Forest right behind the school building, as well as the building itself, richly constructed with wood, contribute to the natural setting. Within the forest, encounters with plants and creatures, and the utilization of pillars and beams in the school building, are open for exploration and learning. The approach is not about being taught by teachers but rather encouraging children-led learning.
Playing The Kashiwa Forest, spanning 8 hectares, is an expansive playground for children that stretches as far as the eye can see. It serves as a place for exploring living creatures, splitting firewood, and cooking cultivated mushrooms.
Emphasizing the perspective of caring for the forest, we have also introduced horse-keeping, with horses that help maintain the grass. The school building itself is a vast space without divided rooms, allowing children to run around, climb pillars, and experience new ways of playing indoors.
What does a day at Urakawa Friend Forest Kindergarten entail, spent in the vast school building and garden? Here's a general overview of activities.
Morning Routine: Cultivating the Field
Tending to the watering and weeding of the vegetables grown in the nursery's fields is a daily task for the children. From planting to harvest, they take care of the crops every day, observing the growth of the food they cultivate.
Learning through Interaction with Forest-Dwelling Horses
Ni-chan and Tai-kun, two horses freely moving between the forest and the school building, provide opportunities for children to interact and learn. Regular encounters with these two living beings allow children to accumulate new experiences.
Playful Exploration All Year Round in Short Sleeves and Bare Feet
There are no separate classrooms for the 3-5 year-olds; instead, they all play freely within one large space. Climbing on bars and pillars, sliding down slopes—children independently discover and enjoy various activities throughout the day.
Daily Kindergarten Lunch
The kindergarten lunch is crafted by a culinary professional known as the 'Mother of School Lunch,' Ms. Tomi Sasaki. In her role as a food education advisor, she not only plans the menu but also personally cooks once a month. With a commitment to using only seasonings that enhance the natural flavors of the ingredients and make the food delicious when tasted, her dedication has significantly reduced the amount of leftovers from the children.
We provide three accommodation options, including two resettlement experience facilities for an immersive residency experience and the hotel-style Urakawa Yushun Village AERU. The first two options offer an affordable taste of local living, while the hotel-type accommodation provides dining options for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
Adjacent to the accommodation is the co-working space Masago, which features both an open workspace and private rooms. Equipped with a printer, it provides convenience for document printing. Moreover, at the Urahawa Yushun Village AERU and the workspace at the Urakawa Town Horse Riding Park, you can work while enjoying the view of grazing horses.
We would like to recommend memorable ways to spend your holidays, including spots to visit and delicious local cuisine that your entire family might enjoy on weekends.
Challenge Horse Riding with Your Children
With around 200 farms and over 3,000 thoroughbreds, Urakawa is a prominent horse town in the Hidaka area. At Urakawa Yushun Village AERU and Urakawa Horse-riding Park, you and your children can interact with horses and even experience horseback riding.
Urakawa Yushun Village AERU (Japanese website)
Urakawa Horse-riding Park (Japanese website)
Refresh with Views of the Sea and Mountains
One of the charms of Urakawa Town lies in the diverse landscapes offering views of both the sea and mountains. At Lupinus Hill, which provides a panoramic view of the town, lupines bloom in early summer, and cosmos flowers flourish in the autumn.
Lupinus Hill (Japanese website)
Indulge in Fresh Seafood
For a taste of Urakawa's exquisite seafood, featuring highlights like salmon, trout, and Hidaka kelp, look no further than Ikeda Sengyoten. As a renowned fishmonger, they not only showcase seasonal seafood but also provide options that cater to various budgets.
Ikeda Sengyoten (Facebook page)
Please feel free to contact us for application or any inquiries you may have. We are here to assist you.
▼Please be sure to check the following before applying. Click here for details and frequently asked questions about the preschool and facilities.