Japan is paradise for nature and animal lovers. Today, I want to introduce a secret gem in the Tohoku region of Japan – Miyagi Zao Fox Village (宮城蔵王 キツネ村).
Somewhere in the mountains near Shiroishi city, there is a village where foxes roam free. Doesn’t it sound like the beginning of a fairytale/folklore? Well, it is true. You can visit this preserve to see over 100 cute foxes along with many other adorable animals.
Miyagi is still somewhat of an off the beaten path region for Japan travelers as people tend to flock to popular destinations like Tokyo and Osaka. There are so much to explore in this prefecture. I visited Miyagi Zao Fox Village a little while ago and absolutely enjoyed the experience. Here are some tips and what to expect for your visit
If you are coming from Tokyo, hop on the Shinkansen to Shiroishizao station (白石蔵王駅). It’s about 109 minutes ride.
Once you arrive, get a cab from outside the station. If you can’t seem to find a cab, ask a station worker for help and they will kindly call one for you. The cab ride is about 20 mins to Zao Fox Village and cost about 4000 yen one way.
If you are already in Miyagi like I was, you can also travel to Shiroishi station (白石駅) and cab from there. It also takes about 20 minutes in the cab.
If you have a car, it is about 4.5 hours drive away from Tokyo and one hour drive away from Sendai city, the capital of Miyagi.
Address: Kawarago-11-3 Fukuokayatsumiya, Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture 989-0733
Hours: Everyday 09:00 – 16:00
Zao Fox Village
The entry fee is 1000 yen normal price and free for elementary school aged kids and younger. You can also buy some food for the foxes for 200 yen.
The first section of the village features some foxes and other cute animals in pens or on leashes. There are bunnies, goats, birds, and mini horses. You can pet and hold the animals. When I first visited, I thought it was cute but I wondered if that was all that the attraction offered.
That was when we were introduced to “the door”, the entrance to where the real fox village is.
Step through the door be amazed with the scene in front of you. Countless foxes in the wilderness! They are of many varieties and colors. They are walking, sleeping, playing, eating and just being adorable.
When we first entered, all the foxes turned to look at us and froze. Not going to lie, I got a little nervous. They seem to say “you are in our territory now mwuhaha!”
But nothing to worry about! The foxes are friendly and happy, especially when you feed them food. It is simply fascinating to observe them and interact with them.
The clan hanging out
What a majestic creature
What does the fox say?
Look at this cutie!
Group nap time
Do you have food for us?
- Read the instructions given to you at the entry carefully about how to interact with the foxes.
- Do not bring your own food into the area and attempt to feed them to the foxes. Use the food from the sanctuary only.
- Foxes are wild animals so it is not advised to pet them. There are a couple domesticated foxes outside “the door” if you really want to touch one.
- Bring food for yourself on this day trip. There are not a lot of restaurants around this area.
If you want to stay for a night near the Zao Fox Village, head to the hot spring village “Kamasaki Onsen” about 11 minutes drive away. The Kamasaki Onsen is known by the people as a hot spring with healing qualities. Stay in a Japan style ryokan hotel, enjoy hot spring and a Japanese style dinner and breakfast. That’s how you make your Zao Fox Village trip even better!
We stayed in Kimuraya Ryokan. They had nice traditional Japanese tatami rooms with futons and many onsens in the hotels to choose from. There was even a co-ed onsen! Dinner was delicious Japanese shabu shabu. Check it out here.
Looking for the next place to go after Zao Fox Village? Discover more in beautiful Miyagi. Check out Mount Zao and the Okama Crater for an amazing hike!