Among the several categories of Cultural Properties designated by the Japanese government's Agency for Cultural Affairs, one is the Natural Monument. Many of those that rightfully highlight chapters in guidebooks are historic sites and places of particular scenic beauty such as temples and gardens, but one you may catch you off guard is actually...a chicken!

That might have you scratching your head, but you wouldn't be alone. Tons of people online seem to be learning this for the first time, but also instantly recognizing why thanks to a photo shared by Japanese Twitter user Daiouika (@daiouika0316). Daiouika is a farmer in Japan who lives on a ranch with a wide variety of chickens. One of those chickens is the Shokoku Chicken.

The Shokoku Chicken is characterized by saddled feathers and especially long tails that sometimes exceed 60cm (23 inches), and are said to have lived in Japan since the Heian period (794-1192). While it has quite the history among fowls, its status understandably takes quite a few by surprise.

However, one look at Sho, a Shokoku Chicken on Daiouika's ranch, will show you why it's so highly regarded:

Source: @daiouika0316

"A chicken at sunset, so cool."

Set against a gorgeous sunset backdrop on the ranch, Sho's graceful white and black feathers, fiery red crest, and dignified face have many instantly appreciating the chicken's Natural Monument designation, as well almost doubting it's a photo in the replies:

"I thought this was a classical Japanese woodblock print, not a photo!"

"I had no idea such a beautiful chicken existed."

"The pose, the the background, the composition...everything, this is a masterpiece."

"Truly a Natural Monument."

By - grape Japan editorial staff.