Okay, I had heard of the amazing cat island and the cute bunny and deer villages (yes, more on those later on), but the mysterious fox village was new to me. A village with different kinds of foxes, how cool is that!
The village is called Zao Kitsune Mura (or zao fox village) and lies in the Tohoku area in Japan. You get out in Shiroishizao in the city of Shiroishi, and from there on you can grab a cab to get to the little sanctuary. It takes at least half an hour, so make sure to plan enough time if you want to go. The cab is about 3000 yen (or 25 to 30 dollar), so if you can split it with friends it’s a good price. Also, if you go during the winter/spring time, you can check out the scenery of the snow covered mountains that are nearby.
Fox village Japan
For the fox village itself you’ll have to pay an admission fee, but the prices vary between 200 and 1000 yen depending who you ask. I would just take the most expensive one into account, it can always get cheaper. Inside you can also get some food to give to the foxes. And that’s a definite to do while you’re there, since all the foxes will try to grab your attention and get closer to get the food.
Inside Fox village
The fox village is somewhat like a sactuary for the foxes. The preserve has different structures and little houses for the foxes, and there is a shrine with fox-statues and a torii too. The village houses six different types of foxes: from the familiar red fox to the probably unfamiliar silver fox. The foxes are seperated into several areas: an area for sick foxes to recover before they are being reintroduced to the other foxes and the open area, where you can walk around and pet them if you’re patient.
Foxes are considered to be tricksters in Japan, but people also believe them to have mystical powers. Some even say that foxes are messengers of Inari Okami, the Shinto deity of fertility, prosperity and rice.
Feed the foxes
If you take some food from the staff with you to the open area, the foxes are sure to come to you. They are aware of your presence and know that there is a high possibility you have food, so if you let them come to you, you might be able to pet hem. However, since the foxes are not domesticated you are cautioned not to hand-feed them (nor bring small children to the open area). But hey, if you just stick out your hand with food they might grab it, who knows? As you can see there are also pictures of people apparently petting the foxes.
Credit: Tatsuro Shinomo
Shop inside Fox village
In the Fox village you can also find a little corral full of bunnies to play with and feed. Fun for the smaller kids that can’t go inside the open area with the foxes (and for you too of course!). They also have goats and small horses, so there are enough animals to see. Besides the animals the fox village also has a small gift shop and food shop. Pay attention to the photo’s in the gift shop, you’ll see tons of celebrities that have visited. The staff is very friendly and will try to help you in any way they can, so don’t worry if your Japanese isn’t so good.
Can’t get enough of this cool village? Watch this supercute video of the foxes in Fox Village getting excited and playing around.
For more information
They are open every day of the year, except for when the weather is extremely bad. More information can be found on the Fox village-website.