Admirable Kandachime Horses, on snowy and windblown cape

Winter, get close to wildlife


Cape Shiriya is located at the easternmost tip of Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Prefecture. In winter, the meadows that spread over this cape turn into an icy world with cold wind and snow blowing in from the sea. In the face of such a harsh environment, there are horses that powerfully gallop through the snowy fields. These horses are called Kandachime, and are wild horses that have evolved to withstand the cold.

The history of Kandachime Horses

The ancestors of the Kandachime horses are the Nambu horses that were native to Japan, and they descend from the Tanabu horse that were bred in the era of feudal clans by the Nanbu clan. During the Meiji, Taisho and Showa eras, they were cross bred with non-native species in order to withstand the harsh winters and coarse food, and they evolved to become draft horses that were unique to the Shiriya region. Seeing these horses standing still against the snowy wind blowing in from the seas is an impressive sight.

A symbol of the winter landscape on the Shimokita Peninsula

From January to March, the Kandachime horses are left to roam free in a wintering spot called Ataka. After WWII in Japan, there was a time that the number of Kandachime dropped to just nine horses as the need for draft horses ended, but they have now recovered to about 30 horses. As a symbol of the winter landscape on the Shimokita Peninsula, and to convey the agricultural culture of Aomori Prefecture, these horses have been designated as a natural treasure of the prefecture, and they are carefully protected.

Monkfish hot pot, a winter dish of Shimokita

The village of Kazamaura on the Shimokita Peninsula is famous in Japan for catching live monkfish. At restaurants in the city of Mutsu, you can enjoy monkfish hot pot (Anko Nabe) with monkfish from Shimokita.

Oku-Yagen Onsen Fufu-Kappa-No-Yu

This is a hot spring that you can make a day trip to in the mountains of Mutsu. It is a simple hot spring with clear hot water. The stone masonry open-air bath is full of charm.


Location/Access Higashidori-mura, Shimokita-gun, Aomori Prefecture
About 2 hours by car from Misawa Airport (rental car).
Inquiries Higashidori Village Hall
TEL 0175-27-2111

Shimokita TABI Assist
TEL 0175-31-1270

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