Man Takes His 26-Year-Old African Tortoise on Walks Through Tokyo

Japanese Man Walks Pet Tortoise

Photo: Screenshot from YouTube

Dog owners know the importance of taking their pups on regular walks. These days, it's not even uncommon to see some people bringing their cats out on a stroll. However, it's not every day that you come across a tortoise ambling down the street. Japanese man Hisao Mitani has become a familiar sight in Tsukishima, Tokyo, where he can often be seen accompanying his African tortoise on leisurely walks around the city.

The 26-year-old tortoise is affectionally called Bon-chan and is usually sporting cute apparel like hats and accessories made by a friendly neighbor. Mitani explains that when he first got Bon-chan, the reptile was just the size of his palm. However, over time, the tortoise became bigger than he anticipated. When Bon-chan was 10 years old, he went through a huge growth spurt. Now, Mitani estimates that he weighs about 155 pounds. So, to ensure Bon-chan gets enough exercise, he escorts him on treks down the street a couple of times a week. Their usual route may not be far, but it still takes the pair an hour or two to return home—especially because of all the pitstops Bon-chan makes for his fans.

“Bon-chan knows the route by heart and is very strong-minded, so it is more me that follows him, than the other way around,” Mitani says. “We walk the neighborhood and we are pretty famous around here.” African tortoises can live up to 150 years old, so Bon-chan is still in the prime of his life with energy to spare. “I try to take him out whenever I have the time,” Mitani adds. “I think it helps to relieve his stress from being cooped up.”

Japanese man Hisao Mitani takes his 26-year-old African tortoise on walks through Tokyo.

The tortoise, named Bon-chan, takes his time strolling around the block and is often followed by fans.

h/t: [Digg, Gizmodo]

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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