ZAO FOX VILLAGE – MIYAGI JAPAN
The park is located in the mountains near Shiroshi in Japan, and you can find six different types of foxes there. The preserve has small fox houses placed all around, and there is also a shrine with fox statues.
The foxes roam freely in a preserve which visitors can enter. You need to wash your hands and check your face in a mirror before you enter, since the staff ask you to enter with a kind face so as not to look scary. Many people enter thinking that they can pet and cuddle these cute creatures, which is not possible. The staff kindly asks you not to pet them or feed them outside of the feeding area, since they will bite you. You can however pay 400yen to hold one for a few minutes, and a 100yen to feed them in the feeding area by throwing food for them.
The main attraction is of course walking around within the Fox Village and seeing the foxes walking around the area freely. There are a lot of trees and bushes, and it’s very refreshing to be there. However, there is no place where you can sit and relax, and a lot of the foxes are either asleep or begging for food at the feeding area. You can get very close to the foxes though and get a lot of wonderful photos.
Some foxes will come up to you with curiosity, while others will just walk by or run away when you approach them. They are somewhat tame, but it is important to remember that they are wild animals. There isn´t much supervision from the staff and they do not take responsibility if you do get bitten while trying to pet a fox.
There is also a petting zoo where you can find bunnies, miniature horses and some goats.
How to get there:
From Tokyo you can take the Shinkansen directly to Shiroishizao station, which takes about 110minues. Once you arrive at Shiroishizao station you can catch a taxi outside, or ask at the JR tourism office to call one for you. Zao fox village is about a 20minutes drive into the mountains. The drive is very scenic and enjoyable.
Be careful to not bring any food inside or have any dangling items like your camera strap on you. It might seem strict with all the rules, but they are there for yours and the foxes’ safety. My trip there was very fun and pleasurable and I highly recommend making a visit there.
Foxes are popular in Japanese folktales and lore. If you want to know more about foxes in the Japanese culture, please comment below.