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Zao Fox Village

For fox sake.

Japan is cute animal sanctuary central and what could possibly be cuter than a fox village? In the picturesque mountains of Miyagi prefecture you can watch, feed and take adorable pictures with six different breeds of Japanese foxes.

Once you arrive, stock up on cheap bags of fox food at the entrance and get your camera ready to capture some foxy hijinks.

Fixes at Zao Fox Village

You can pick up bags of fox food for around 100 yen at the entrance to the village.

The main part of the village works as a kind of open-air fox preserve where foxes roam freely outside. There are a few houses and play areas for the foxes but you can pretty much get away with pretending you’re the Lord of the Foxes in your own live-action fairy tale.

The foxes are wild so avoid trying to get too close to them without permission from the friendly staff. If you do desperately want to play or stroke one of the many fluffy inhabitants, they can set you up with a more docile member of the crew.

A special section is set aside for those who want to cuddle a sleepy fox, and let’s face it, who doesn’t?

This is obviously very popular, so make sure you give yourself enough time to line up before your coach or taxi leaves. If you don’t fancy getting comfy with the real thing, you can always purchase a range of fox plushies and souvenirs from the on-site shop.

A sleeping fox at Zao Fox Village, Japan.

Sadly, you can’t take a real one home.

Although accessible all year round, visiting in winter is highly recommended for the ethereal quality it adds to the village. Bring hiking boots (whatever the season) to make it easier to explore in the snow and protect you from the inevitable piles of fox poo.

Foxes get a pretty bad rep for being tricksters in many cultures but in Japan they’re also believed to be magical beings and messengers of Inari Okami, the Shinto deity of fertility, prosperity and rice. After an hour or two hanging out with these little guys you might just believe they’ve got a little magic in them too.

Things To Know

Animal Welfare

Some visitors have expressed concerns about animal cruelty as many of the foxes are kept in small, crowded cages. Those who are concerned with animal welfare should keep this in mind before visiting.


Entry costs ¥1000 yen, bags of fox food are ¥100, and cuddles with a fox cost ¥400.

How To Get There


Fukuokayatsumiya, Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture 989-0733, Japan

By train

From Tokyo, take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train) all the way to Shiroishi-Zao Station (approx. 1 hour 50 minutes).

From Sendai, you can take the bullet train or local JR train directly to Shiroishi Station. From both Shiroishi or Shiroishi-Zao, you will have to take either a taxi or a shuttle bus to reach the Fox Village.

By bus

A direct shuttle bus run by the fox village leaves Shiroishi Zao station at 10:00 a.m. and Shiroishi Station at 10:10 a.m. the return trip is 12:30 p.m. You can sign up for the liner here (http://zao-fox-village.com/access) but the bus won’t leave with less than five people aboard and the maximum boarding is eight people.

By car

Taxis make the rounds between Shiroishi Zao station and the Fox Village (Zao Kitsune Mura, in Japanese). It costs around ¥4200 each way and takes approximately 30 minutes. If there are no taxis outside the station when you arrive, the tourist information center there can call one for you.

Where To Stay

Venezian Hotels Shiroishi Zao
  • 1-2-1 Asahicho, Shiroishi-shi, Miyagi, 989-0223 Japan
  • ¥9,749 - ¥26,980
  • 4.41/5 (1,103 reviews)
  • 8.8 km
Hot Spring Inn Barden-ya Soho
  • 43-1 Togattaonsen, Katta-gun Zao-machi, Miyagi, 989-0916 Japan
  • ¥9,000 - ¥25,000
  • 4.56/5 (442 reviews)
  • 8.8 km
Chikusenso Onsen
  • 88-11 Togattaonsen, Katta-gun Zao-machi, Miyagi, 989-0916 Japan
  • ¥53,500 - ¥56,300
  • 5/5 (105 reviews)
  • 9.0 km
Tabinoteitaku Zao Miyagi Homann Concept
  • 71-1 Togattaonsen, Katta-gun Zao-machi, Miyagi, 989-0916 Japan
  • ¥25,500 - ¥52,200
  • 4.38/5 (45 reviews)
  • 9.2 km
Yutomori Club
  • 128 Togattaonsen, Katta-gun Zao-machi, Miyagi, 989-0916 Japan
  • ¥41,400 - ¥59,000
  • 9.2 km

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