The Ultimate Guide to Zao Fox Village Japan
We took a trip to Shiroishi in the mountains of Miyagi Prefecture to visit a village filled with hundreds of real wild foxes, armed with adorably cute smiles, or better known as Miyagi Zao Fox Village. And for some reason they all look like they’re smiling at you, even when they are asleep. This could very well could be the cutest place on Earth.
There are over six species of foxes here at the sanctuary. But, correction, it’s not an actual village, it’s more like a really large forest filled with foxes in an enclosed area. They all sit and bask in the snow and smile at your camera and occasionally you can catch a couple of them fighting like you see on Nat Geo Wild. I’m not the least bit surprised this place exists in Japan. TONS of cool places like this exist around Japan and it kills me every time I realize I cannot possibly see them all. Just google “bunny island Japan or Japan rabbit island,” and you’ll see a similar attraction.
Traveling from Tokyo to Zao Fox Village is very easy. And as you can see, going in the winter is quite scenic.
Getting to Zao Fox Village
Travel Guide to Fox Village
Directions & Train Station
- From Tokyo, it’s a very easy day trip. Take the Shinkansen to Shiroishizao station. From Tokyo station, you don’t even need to change trains. The journey is just 109 minutes long. You can use the scheduling tool Hyperdia to arrange your train times.
- If you’re traveling to Japan and traveling outside of Tokyo, you will need a JR RAIL PASS. It will save you money in the end. The Shinkansen costs A LOT of money without this pass.
- To purchase this pass, please use Japan Rail’s banner link below or click right here. They will provide fast shipment to you. They offer 7 day, 14 day or 21 day passes.
- Once you arrive at Shiroishizao station, it looks like every other small town in Japan, except this station has a nice little JR tourism office out front once you exit the Shinkansen gates. Chances are there will be few cabs, but if not just walk into this office and the kind lady inside will call you a taxi.
- It took only five minutes before the taxi arrived. Depending on where you’re traveling from, you can also travel to Shiroishi station, but this takes a lot longer coming from Tokyo and is not a stop on the Shinkansen.
- The actual cab ride from Shiroishizao station to Zao Fox Village took about 20 minutes. It costs about 4000 yen each way.
Travel Tips For Japanese Fox Sanctuary
- Wear hiking boots. There is actually a lot of snow in the winter, and even in the summer, there is fox poo everywhere!
- Read the directions given to you at the front office carefully. Don’t bring any of your own food into the fox enclosure. And don’t feed any of the foxes unless you are protected by the caged area. They will likely attack you if they even think you have food.
- You can buy food to feed the foxes for about 200 yen for a small bag of tiny hot dog pieces. But you can only feed them in the enclosed area. You purchase the food inside when you buy your entry ticket, but they make you stuff the food in your purse because the foxes can hear the crinkle of the bag and will try to get it.
- Be careful of things dangling like your camera strap and even your cell phone. Foxes are so hungry all the time and will pounce on anything they think is food. We saw a fox bury a girl’s cell phone in the snow. See the pic right below.
- Going in the winter is super scenic.
- Bring enough cash for cab fare. It’s about 4000 yen each way per cab ride.
- Don’t attempt to pet the foxes. There are a few domestic friendly foxes outside the enclosure. You can pet them only. Be aware of all the signs hanging up around the park.
- Bring food for yourself or eat beforehand because there’s not much to eat out this way at all.
- Also on a side note: Shiroishizao station schedules a Shinkansen every hour which means, that you can actually SEE a Shinkansen fly past you at its full speed as it hurls through the station. If you’ve never seen this before, I highly recommend watching one fly by you. It’s like watching a jet fly past you five feet away. Simply awesome and a bit creepy.
Zao Fox Village Contact Information
- ADDRESS: Kawarago-11-3 Fukuokayatsumiya, Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture 989-0733
- TEL: 0224-24-8812
- EMAIL: [email protected]
- HOURS: Everyday 09:00 – 16:00
Between the Shinkansen cost and the cab ride, for a single day trip it’s about $300 a person. The entry ticket is about ¥1000 at the moment, with children under 12 free.
P.S. My fox shirt is from Forever 21. I bought it in Osaka. I got a ton of compliments on it that day. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to wear to Fox Village Japan.
JUST TO NOTE:
The foxes here looked pretty happy at the sanctuary. The enclosure isn’t that small and they have a lot of area to roam around the park. But, there are cages there that house the rowdier foxes and perhaps some babies. So yea, for those who hate zoo environments at all costs no matter what the condition, I do not recommend you visiting. However, personally, I’m not the type to shun all types of animal parks and from my perception, these guys looked happy.