The beautiful country of Japan holds many weird and wonderful delights. Fancy touching down on Cat Island, a small slice of land overrun with felines? You can. How about taking a trip to Rabbit Island and getting smothered by bunnies? You can do that too. Want to hang out with a park full of foxes? No problem; a visit to Fox Village is in order. Despite sounding like locations from a Pokémon game, all three of the above places are real and very visitable. While they all contain a certain appeal, the most intriguing of the trio is undoubtedly the mythical-sounding Fox Village, located in Miyagi Prefecture,
Roughly two-thirds up the country of Japan, Fox Village is easily accessible as a day trip from Tokyo. It’s one of the most memorable places in the world and quite a unique place to spend a couple of hours in. Why not log on to BUCKiTDREAM to see if any other intrepid travelers have made their way to Fox Village, and start getting inspired by the endless cute photos and shots of foxes of all ages as we take you through the best ways to make the most of your trip to the land of foxes!
So, first of all; what’s the best way to get out there? Well, there’s only one way really. Bullet train! The Shinkansen (as it’s known locally) is a fantastic way to speed around the entirety of Japan, and what’s more, foreign visitors can avail of the Japan Rail Pass, which gives you unlimited train travel for seven days for a bargain price of around $250. If you’re considering zipping around the country during your stay, this is a surefire bet. Shiroishizao is the station nearest to Fox Village; it’s a non-stop train from Tokyo station and takes 109 minutes (the Japanese are unwaveringly precise with their train times). The foxes live high up in the mountains, so the only option for the second leg of the journey is a taxi. You’ll find one no problem at the front of the station, but be warned, a return taxi trip to Fox Village from the Shiroishizao station will cost around $80.
Once you step inside the Village gates, you’ll consider every cent of this fare worth it. You’ll already have a special sense of seclusion from the cab ride up; the road twists and turns high into the mountains, leaving the small town of Shiroishi far below you. Fox Village appears seemingly out of nowhere, and at first appears deceptively small. It costs around $10 to enter, and you can stay in there as long as you like. There are two main areas to the site; the first is a kind of petting area, where many of the foxes are in cages; they are either sick, young, or pregnant, and are being kept away from the main population. You can actually hold a fox and get your picture taken with one here if you want to; every couple of hours, staff from the Village will take a couple of tame foxes and pass them around to anyone who wants to hold one. There’s also a couple of goats just hanging around in this area, and a single badger, who’s probably wondering how the hell he’s ended up all alone in Fox Village.
The main enclosure is where the action is. It’s a forest-type setting about the size of a football field; the foxes in here are completely free to roam around, and you’re free to roam among them. There are a few different colored foxes on display; the traditional red fox, the cool-looking white fox, and the rare black fox, all mingling together and enjoying life in the Village. As foxes are nocturnal, for everyone that’s up and about, there’s another three sleeping; but that just provides an opportunity to take some really great close-ups of the snoozing balls of fur. They’re pretty used to humans at this stage, so you can get pretty close to them. You’re heavily advised not to pet them, though, as some of them can and will bite. You’ve also got to be conscious of things hanging down from your belt, bag or jacket; the foxes will think they’re food and try to snatch them away.
Speaking of food, in the center of the enclosure, there’s a little structure where you can buy bags of food and rain down treats on the foxes below. Once they hear the rustling of the food bags, the area underneath you will be swarming with eager foxy faces. It’s a great way to see them lively and active. Some might think it’s cruel to keep so many foxes essentially caged up in one place, but the animals look content for the most part and are also some of the healthiest-looking lads you’ll ever come across. Forget your skinny urban foxes skulking around dustbins; the foxes in Fox Village are the silkiest, rotund cat-dog hybrids you’ll ever lay eyes upon. The fox is a revered and sacred animal in Japan; so why not see what all the fuss is about, and tick Fox Village off your bucket list the next time you hit up the Land of the Rising Sun!
If you’re at a loose end for more bucket list ticks in Japan and want to make the most of that Rail Pass, then why not whip out your BUCKiTDREAM planner and check out 4 Best Zen Retreats in Japan, Skiing in Niseko and Top 3 Temples and Shrines in Kyoto!