- 3 min read

Zao Kitsune Mura (Fox Village)

A one-of-a-kind opportunity to interact with foxes

There are some experiences in Japan that are so unique they are difficult to describe. Visiting the Zao Kitsune Mura, or Fox Village, is among them.

Equal parts zoo, cultural exhibit, and nature preserve, the Fox Village is a conservation area tucked away in the mountains of Miyagi prefecture. There, visitors can immerse themselves among over 100 foxes who roam free on the premises. By "roam free," I mean that once you open the door to the main paddock, there are foxes that saunter up to you to take a closer look. It is breathtaking to be in the presence of these beautiful creatures, especially since they command such a special place in Japanese lore.

Foxes, as many of our intrepid Japan Travelers already know, are important symbols in Japanese culture. Their likenesses are found at temples and shrines throughout the country, and they have a special place in Japanese folklore alongside tanuki (raccoon dogs) and saru (monkeys). The Fox Village celebrates their connection to Japanese culture by including the iconic fox statues, Torii arches, and other nods to the creatures' connections to traditional Japan.

The fact that visitors can walk among the foxes makes this place one-of-a-kind. At this point, the foxes at the Kitsune Mura are relatively accustomed to human presence, and so patrons can get closer to the beautiful animals than they could ever hope for in an uncontrolled environment. There are multiple trails to traverse within the main paddock, and a special area in which to toss food out to the animals (each bag of food costs 200 yen). For safety reasons, visitors are not allowed to feed the animals by hand.

Regarding safety, the foxes are docile but still wild animals. The Fox Village provides a list of instructions for patrons to observe to ensure that there are no incidents where a fox feels threatened or becomes aggressive. The instructions are simple and easy to follow, and I found that there was no reason to be afraid of the foxes as long as one adhered to the rules.

In addition to the main fox area, there is a separate zone with caged animals for patrons to see. These include various types of foxes (such as arctic foxes), small horses, goats, rabbits, and others.

Admission into the Fox Village costs 1000 yen for visitors aged 13 and up. Patrons 12 and younger can enter for free. (Please note that they do not accept credit cards for the admission fee).

There is a great gift shop as you exit the facility filled with fox-themed items and local specialties. Unlike the admissions desk, the shop accepts credit cards.

Zao Kitsune Mura's operating hours varies depending on the season. From March 16 to November 30, it is open from 9:00 to 17:00, and from December 1 to March 15, it is open from 9:00 to 16:00. Please be aware that the only area that is climate controlled is the building housing the admissions office and gift shop, so be sure to dress accordingly.

Getting there

Zao Kitsune Mura is off-the-beaten path, tucked away in the mountains. It is best to visit if you have a private or rental vehicle or a hired taxi. Bus transport is very sparse but information can be found on the Kitsune Mura website about options.

More info

Find out more about Zao Fox Village.

Was this article helpful?

Give us feedback

0
5

Join the discussion

Lina Tomoyasu 9 months ago
I would not return or recommend it.

Through ads online we thought that this was some kind of sanctuary for foxes, but it is quite the opposite.

There is a warning when you get in of strong smells but it doesn't truly prepare you for the smell that greets you after you pay. Being that it was in the low 40s, I can't imagine being there in the summertime. If you are smell sensitive, don't come.

The area you enter is full of cages of different types of foxes and different ages. Most were younger but some were very elderly. The cages were too small for the animals and I felt very bad for the animals. They also had rabbits, mini horses, and goats. Their enclosures were also too small for the animals.

We went into the open enclosure where there were a tremendous amount of foxes sleeping and walking about. When the food man came, they all perked up and started following him (we did too). He runs a stand in the middle of the enclosure where you can buy food and feed the foxes. It's about 7 or 8 pieces of giant processed dog food pellets you break in half and throw from the enclosure to feed the foxes.

This was a fun activity for the kids but it causes the foxes to fight with each other. 1 bag Is nowhere near enough food for a single fox, neither was the 4 that we bought collectively. I'm sure they get fed regardless of how many tourists come.

Their gift shop was amazing and had the cutest things. This was the only high point of it.

Adults are ¥1000 and kids are free. It must be one adult per child. No more so if the kids outnumber the adults, then it's a no-go. And you must hold your child's hand at all times. The open enclosure isn't staffed so if you get bit, your fault (you sign a waiver beforehand).

The worse part is seeing my daughter wrestle between seeing the animal she loves the most in such horrible conditions. She already has told me she wants to boycott all animal shows because the animals are treated so cruelly. She was trying so hard to enjoy herself, but I could tell she did not.
Novia Mardasari a year ago
I like the baby goat, so nice. The fox look so sleepy
Elena Lisina 3 years ago
It looks like a zoo... I liked Jigokudani Monkey Park as there are no any cages and monkeys really live free. At night they sleep in the mountains and get down to the onsen and park area only in the daytime.
Kim 3 years ago
I love the one trying to look for extra food! Haha!
Sleiman Azizi 3 years ago
When you look at a fox you never know if it's thinking "Isn't that the guy that owes me money?"

Thank you for your support!

Your feedback has been sent.