Retired racehorses in Japan

If you mention "Japan" and "racehorses" to anime or mobile game enthusiasts nowadays, even outside of Japan, it's highly likely that they'll think of the popular video game and anime franchise Uma Musume Pretty Derby. However, there's much more to talk about if you're genuinely interested in Japanese horseracing.

For one thing, it's ranked among the top sports in Japan, along with other traditional sports such as sumo wrestling, baseball, and soccer. The Japan Racing Association (JRA), which organizes and promotes horse racing in Japan, is considered as the largest horse racing organization in the world, with a significant number of fans, followers, and spectators.

Naturally, many fans also care about what happens to racehorses when they retire. Whether it's their "second career" prospects in equestrian sports or as great horses for horseback riding or social issues relating to their treatment, there are many other subjects deserving of a horse fan's attention.

A new concept cafe

With that in mind, horse and horseracing fans in Japan can look forward to a new cafe scheduled to open in April 2023 in the trendy neighborhood of Omotesando, Shibuya Ward. Tentatively called BafunYasai TCC CAFÉ, the new concept cafe operated by TCC Japan will provide a unique experience not only involving delicious food but also concern for horse welfare and sustainable living.

Based in the horse-famous city of Ritto, Shiga Prefecture, where the JRA Japan Racing Association's training center is located, TCC Japan engages in social activities such as support for retired racehorses and horse therapy for children with disabilities.

According to the Shibuya Keizai Shimbun, in 2020, the company decided to set up a new activity base in the Kanto area where the number of fans of retired racehorses and affiliated riding facilities is higher than in Ritto. They hope that opening a cafe will provide a new gathering place where the public can become more aware of its activities as well as the social issues involving horses.

This is an image of what the new cafe will look like:

Located in a quiet alley off the busy Omotesando avenue, BafunYasai TCC CAFÉ will offer visitors a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The café's location was chosen for its accessibility and high visibility.

The restaurant will offer a menu featuring 馬糞野菜 bafun yasai (lit. "horse manure vegetables"), vegetables and fruits grown from horse manure fertilizer, carefully selected by visiting farmers directly. The restaurant is considering offering plates with a choice of main dishes for lunch, and vegetarian snacks and side dishes to pair with drinks in the evening. Drinks, such as craft ginger ale, will also use herbs and fruits grown from horse manure fertilizer.

karins | © PIXTA. Image for illustrative purposes only.

There's also an idea for a latte decorated with horse motif artwork.

Chi- | © PIXTA. Image used for illustrative purposes only.

The café's open-air terrace, made of wood chips, will have a herb garden grown using horse manure fertilizer. The café's interior walls and floor will be designed with natural materials such as wood and will use an earth color palette to create a warm and inviting atmosphere that evokes the feeling of being in a horse stable. The café will have 68 square meters of indoor space and 18 square meters of terrace space, with seating for 35 people. There will also be a retail corner where they'll be selling food products made with horse manure-grown vegetables as well as original TCC Japan goods.

To stay up-to-date on the latest developments as the opening date approaches, follow TCC Japan on Twitter and Instagram.

Shop Information

  • Name (tentative): BafunYasai TCC CAFÉ
  • Address: 2F Jingumae HAMAYA Bldg., 5-12-8 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo (東京都渋谷区神宮前5丁目12‐8 神宮前HAMAYAビル2F) (Google Maps)
  • Access: A 5-minute walk from Meiji-jingumae 'Harajuku' Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda and Fukutoshin Lines, a 7-minute walk from the Omotesando Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hanzomon Lines, and a 9-minute walk from Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line.
  • Business Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekdays, 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Last order times may be earlier.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.