Home to a resilient and remarkable animal, Cape Shiriya lies on the tip of Aomori Prefecture’s Shimokita Peninsula. Horses known as “Kandachime”—literally meaning “to stand in the cold”—are known for their great stamina and ability to withstand the harsh northern winters. Though the Kandachime are wild horses and roam freely about the countryside, they remain calm around humans and are used to posing for photographs with friendly visitors.
Descended from the Nambu breed in neighboring Iwate, they are recognizable by their short legs and stocky bodies. Initially kept as sturdy farm stock, by 1995 their numbers had dwindled to just nine animals. Tighter protection policies, as well as the designation of both the Kandachime and their habitat as Natural Treasures of Aomori Prefecture, have seen their numbers recover to around 40 horses today.
The sight of the exalted Kandachime horses galloping through the snow-covered Cape Shiriya is one of pure inspiration. They stand as symbols of natural beauty and grace, their hooves clopping through the white powder and manes flowing with the wind. As the snow melts in the warmer months, watching these dignified animals grazing on the vibrant green grass in the shimmering sunlight is a serene, and nearly dream-like experience.