Check Out These 8 Native Horse Breeds Of Japan AND Where To See Them?


If you are into horse racing, you may want to know what type of horse breed you are betting on. Most of the horses used in equestrian sports are either crossbreeds or non-native horses brought from outside of Japan. However, there are nearly 8 native aka 'kokunaiuma' breeds that can be only found on different islands of Japan. Let`s know what they are and where you can find them.

1. Dosanko

Did you know that almost every horse breed we are going to talk about here are endangered except Dosanko? Found predominantly in Hokkaido and nearby Tohoku region, the alternative name of Dosanko is 'Hokkaido Horse'. History tells us that these horses came from a group of horses left during the Tokugawa Period in the region. Its numbers are slowing falling down because of the continuing neglect. These horses are mainly used by the agriculturists and others living in rural side of northern regions of Japan as means of transport. The Hokkaido University has taken the responsibility to protect these horses which also could fall under critically endangered category in the near future.
Hokkaido Pony
Via Wikipedia

2. Kiso

Kiso is a small type of horse that is mid-size in stature and is said to have brought to Japan from continental Asia several centuries back for farming and other purposes. During the Imperial Japan times, many of these horses were castrated and since then, their population has fallen to merely a few. Found majorly in the Kiso Valley of Nagano Prefecture, these horses can be seen having 'bay (typically reddish brown with hints of black)' color. If you visit the infamous and most violent volcano, which erupted a few years back taking lives of many people, namely Mt. Ontake in the Kiso mountain ranges, you can find these horse being taken care by conservationists in centers such as Kiso Horse Village.
木曽駒_1.jpg 276.41 KB
Via Wikipedia

3. Misaki

MIsaki is one among a few native animal species of Japan that are considered as natural treasures. These are very small in stature and are mainly found in the designated touristic area of Cape Toi in Miyazaki Prefecture of Japan. Their entire population is just above a hundred, thanks to conservation efforts, it has improved compared to previous years.
Misaki_uma_May_2014_4774.jpg 5.25 MB
Via Wikipedia

4. Miyako

Miyako Islands are a bunch of remote islands near Taiwan in Okinawa Prefecture which have long been a center for equestrian farming and battleground training. The Miyako Horses are considered as one of the finest horses and are put on the same pedestal as the Mongolian Horse. They were once bred in large numbers but now they are not even 19 as of 2001.
Miyako Uma
Via Miyakojima Bunkazai

5. Noma

Believed to have originated on the islands of Seto Inland Sea, the Noma horses are now found in small numbers in the Noma Uma Highland present in the Ehime Prefecture. These horses are infact considered the tiniest of all the horse breeds of Japan, and are said to be genetically related to the Okinawan breeds such as Yonaguni. Do pay a visit to the highland, which is actually a great family park visited every year by nearly 20000 people according to the tourist census.
Noma Uma
Via Pinterest

6. Tokara

Tokara Islands are present in Kagoshima Prefecture at the end of Kyushu, which are famous for a unique breed of horses called the 'Tokara Horses' that are currently endangered. Known as a local natural monument, a few of these horses are being taken care of and studied in the Nakanoshima farm, Mt. Kaimon park and other areas. The best thing about these horses is that they can live in hot regions and can be used in agriculture.

Tokara Horses
Via Flickr

7. Taishu

Taishu Uma is a unique breed of horse found on the Tsushima (aka Taishu) Island that comes under Nagasaki Prefecture. The island is famous for endangered species such as the Tsushima Cat and the Taishu Horse, about which not much information is available. You can contact the local university or the government for finding accurate information on conservation efforts being taken.
Taisyuu or Taishu Uma
Via Minnano Jouba

8. Yonaguni

Many of you might have heard the tiny island of Yonaguni where some mysterious Atlantis-type underwater city was found. It is located just a few kilometers away from Taiwan and is considered the last place in Japan where the sun sets every day. The area is known for some unique wild life, including the Yonaguni horse, which can be seen grazing at Cape Irizaki, an area known among tourists as the south-western end of Japan.
Yonaguni Uma
Via Pinterest

Apart from the aforementioned eight, there have been many other horse breeds from Japan that are artificially bred in farms and are not actually found in nature. You can visit the areas where the native horse breeds are present and let the world know by sharing their information so that people could contribute for their conservation efforts. 

Yashwanth Kumar Rasani