Zoos, museum mark a horsey new year in Japan

Zoos, museum mark a horsey new year in Japan

JAPAN - Special events whose theme is this year's zodiac animal, the horse, are being held at zoos and other places around the country.

Ueno Zoo in Taito Ward, Tokyo, is holding an event titled "Eto Ten: Uma Zukushi" (Horse-o-rama: A zodiac exhibition) through Jan. 26. Visitors can see five indigenous breeds of horses, including Kisouma, Yonaguniuma and Tokarauma, raised at the zoo.

The exhibition also features information on the history of horses native to Japan as well as a photo timeline illustrating the growth of a Kisouma horse born last spring.

Sapporo Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo is planning a hands-on event at which visitors will get a chance to brush a miniature pony measuring about one meter long. The event starts at 3 p.m. from Sunday through Jan. 31. Participation is offered on a first-come, first-served basis with 20 spots for children younger than middle school age.

The Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium in Nagoya is featuring an exhibit titled "Uma ni Chinanda Ikimono Tachi" (Marine creatures with a horse connection) through Jan. 19. Sea creatures such as the black scraper, which has a long face and is in the same family as the threadsail filefish, are among the critters on show.

An art exhibition titled "Hakubutsu- kan ni Hatsumode, Umadoshi ni Yosete" (New Year's museum visit in the year of the horse) is running at the Tokyo National Museum in Taito Ward in the capital through Jan. 26.

It highlights fine arts and crafts with horse motifs. A byobu screen from the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1603) that includes illustrations of soldiers and horses, as well as a rare harness, are among the objects shown.

"Visitors to the exhibition can get to know how close horses have been to people's lives throughout the ages," said a museum employee in charge of the exhibition.

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