Friday, December 17, 2010

Japanese Camels

Well of course there is no such thing as a Japanese Camel, and as far as I can find out there never has been.
These first two photos are of the Bactrician Camel, now native to Mongolia and part of China, though their prehistoric origin was probably North America.

These live in neighboring Tottori at the prefecture's most well-known tourist site, the Tottori Sand Dunes, where they give tourists short rides in the sand. Before I came to Japan, knowing how much I loved the desert my wife tried to convince me that Japan did in fact have a small desert. Tottori sand dunes is what she meant!

There was also a Dromedary or Arabian Camel. When i was a kid we used to ride camels at the zoo, and one time some years ago I did get up before dawn and ride a camel out into the Sahara to watch sunrise from the top of dunes similar to the ones here in Tottori.


  1. In my Japanese class in Los Angeles, we had to interview a Real Live Japanese Tourist, and we asked her if she had been to the desert yet. She said no, but also told us that Japan had a small desert in Tottori.

  2. I wonder if Tottori is a true "Desert" or if it is merely an area of sparse rainfall. According to what I've been taught, a "Desert" is a complete ecosystem that receives less than three inches of rainfall in a given year.
    Even so, the area looks odd, to say the least, since most people think of Japan as a place of mountains and greenery; not a coastal desert. This definitely qualifies as "Unfamiliar Japan"!

  3. Hi kyllein
    you are right. It is not a desert. It gets plenty of rainfall... a lot more than 3 inches a year :)