The Ultimate Guide to Fox Village Japan
Are you heading to Tokyo soon? Are you interested in visiting the Fox Village Japan? Here’s a guide on how to travel to one of Japan’s cutest places.
Zao Fox Village Japan
Before we get started, if you’re heading to Tokyo, I highly recommend my guidebook Hidden Tokyo, The Essential Guide to Experiencing Tokyo’s Hidden Magic. Unlike most books, it’s specifically written as a detailed Tokyo neighborhood guide and will therefore enlighten you beyond comprehension in its nearly 400 pages. Ok, let’s get started!
We took a trip to Shiroishi in the mountains of Miyagi Prefecture to visit a village filled with hundreds of real wild foxes with adorably cute smiles – a place 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.
Zao Fox Village is incredibly photographic. You really can’t take a bad picture of these guys. Just be careful not to let them near your camera or lens as they are always on the hunt for food and have a sneaky reputation for snatching electronics.
How to Travel to Fox Village Japan?
Directions & Traveling by train from tokyo
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.
You can purchase a pass from my website down by clicking on the link below or in my sidebar. This is a company I’ve been a partner with and trust their services and delivery.
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 Fox Village Japan
- 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 Japan Contact Information
Kawarago-11-3 Fukuokayatsumiya, Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture 989-0733
9:00am-5:00pm (check holiday hours)
With a Shinkansen ticket and taxi, I’d plan on spending around $300. BUT, if you purchase a JR Pass, then this your cost for the train ride will be covered. The admission ticket is around 1,000 yen.
A Note On The Conditions
Personally when I was there, I wasn’t offended by the conditions. The animals were obviously well fed and engaged in a lot of activity. But, if you’re sensitive to seeing animals in any form of captivity, it’s best you skip this day trip.
Hotel & Places to Stay Near Fukushima
As you can see in the hotels map below, the number of properties is quite scarce but there are some. Another option is to stay out in Fukushima which is not far.
Fukushima was obviously off limits for a long time due to the radiation impact, but it has started to open its doors to tourism again. If you’re at all interested in seeing the effects of the 2011 tsunami and / or simply seeing Fukushima, this is a good opportunity to see it.
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Are you heading to Tokyo soon and want to actually get to know Tokyo? My guide Hidden Tokyo was written as a comprehensive neighborhood guide to help you uncover what makes Tokyo such a complex and fascinating city – its many different districts. It outlines 18 + different districts in nearly 400 pages packed full of expert recommendations. Most people who travel to Tokyo only skim the surface – this guide goes deep.