Shimokita adventures: Part 1, Cape Shiriya

7 09 2012

Sorry for the absence! Between a brief but bizarre medical drama involving a bug bite and a horrible family tragedy, I haven’t had a lot of time or inclination for blogging in the past couple of weeks. Nevertheless, we did have a mini adventure over Labor Day, and I thought I should share.

Because Saturday night was the huge fireworks display on base (possibly more on that later), we did a very short overnight trip all around the Shimokita Peninsula Sunday into Monday. Shimokita forms the northeastern border of Honshu Island, and we hadn’t done much exploring up there yet.

Our first stop was Cape Shiriya. This fairly remote point is home to a herd of wild horses, similar to those on Assategue and Chincoteague Islands. Except, well, these horses are enormous. They were initially bred out on the cape as samurai war horses. Weather is really harsh out on this exposed strip of land, so the horses were left there to toughen them up. Over the centuries, a huge, strong breed of horse has developed.

These horses are wild, roaming freely over a few miles of grass and rocky beach.  When we arrived, they were right in the middle of the road, stopping traffic and delighting visitors.

As you can see, we were able to get fairly close to these enormous beasts. A few brave people actually went up and touched them, but we were happy to keep a bit of distance between them and us, with good reason, as it turned out.

A pony had taken a great liking to this particular car. It was sniffing and linking away, much to the delight of the cars owners, who had gotten out to watch from afar. However, delight turned to dismay when another, much larger, horse decided to get involved. Attempting to push the car out of the way, the horse kicked and stepped on it. When the horse walked away, there was a large dent right where you can see the leg meeting the car. The owners weren’t sure what to do, but there was no recourse for them. Note to future visitors: if a horse is aggressively interested in your car, move it!

At the time of the cape, we spent a bit of time exploring the coastline and lighthouse.

It was hard to tell whether this is currently in use; it looks somewhat abandoned. There was a constant strong breeze blowing, which was comfortable on a fairly hot day. It is easy to imagine how intense the weather can be during cooler seasons.

The beach was absolutely beautiful — all rocky with crystal clear water.

Ignoring some signs we couldn’t quite understand, but which were probably telling us not to go down there, B and R went out to touch the water. They coaxed me down a few moments later.

Shiriya was a great trip! A little bit of wilderness only 2 hours away from home. I think we will definitely be back, though only during the warmer months.

Stay tuned for more highlights — mountains, jellyfish, and monkeys, oh my!

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One response

7 09 2012
maxkathleen

What an adventure indeed! The horse vs car scene could make an excellent automobile commercial – Ford Mustang? Dodge Colt? (it beats all the others). The rocky coast is very Maine-esque!

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