A world where foxes run fast by our feet
In Miyagi Zao Fox Village are over 100 foxes pastured free and easy within the broad expanse of its compound,
where you can observe them living at their hearts' content.
The foxes are normally not that friendly; they will stay some distance away from humans.
But then, the foxes here in the village run past the feet of you, the visitors.
What is more, you can hug and cuddle them and feel the fluffiness of their coat.
That is the kind of place Miyagi Zao Fox Village is!
To begin with, what is this Fox Village?
Miyagi Zao Fox Village is a zoo opened in 1990.
It is situated in the midslope of the Zao Mountain Range, some 10 km straight northwest of the center of Shiroishi City, Miyagi.
The zoo is the home of 6 species of fox, namely: Ezo Red fox, Silver Fox, Arctic fox, Platinum fox, Brown-Platinum fox and Cross Fox.
At the start, the zoo opened with the
foxes brought in from other zoos,
but, as years went by, they multiplied over generations, and today,
their offsprings born right here dominate the whole fox populace in Miyagi Zao Fox Village.
Most foxes in Japan are of a species called Red fox,
partly the so-called Kita Kitsune inhabiting mainly in Hokkaido and what they call Japanese Red Fox living south in the mainland.
Besides these two, you can see in the zoo a Black-coated family of Red fox called Cross Fox and a mutant species Silver Fox,
and two crossbred species Platinum Fox and Brown-Platinum Fox - altogether six different kinds.
Also, you can meet here Arctic foxes, a species that survive the chill of the North Pole and other cold regions.
Nothing so lovely as watching the foxes anxious for feeding!
The admission fee is ¥1,000 over junior high pupils. Kids require caring adults per head to accompany them for safety.
Opening hours change seasonally, summer and winter, depending on the arrival of snow each year.
Your fee paid, you then proceed to the booking office for a round of explanation on precautionary measures while in the zoo.
You see, the foxes are domesticated but are freely roaming within the zoo - as if humans walking into a town of foxes.
That means, they might, though rather rarely, attack you if you should come too close to them.
That's why a few words of precaution are due as you enter the zoo.
Words of precaution well studied, you step into the zoo!
Beyond the gate is a fox territory!
You find right in front of you some foxes browsing in the sun and others looking attentively at you - a few more rushing through the forest.
Walking along the pathway within the zoo, you are sure to have a jolly time spotting foxes here and there.
As you stroll along, you'll come to a point overlooking the red Torii gates of Okon Inari Shrine.
You spot a living fox standing by the shrine enshrining foxes delivering the Inari-shi (Inari Paper) - what a mysterious sight!
(Okon Inari Shrine)
In the center of the zoo is the feeding ground, where the foxes are routinely fed.
Get yourself a sack of feed, ¥200 each, and feed the foxes throwing it down from the upper deck of the feeding ground.
As you stand on the deck, foxes are well aware you are about to feed them.
They flock right under the deck ready to catch the ball.
Wow, how cute - the way they look up at you!
A rare experience - cuddling a fox in your arms
Foxes are normally not to be held in your arms - they are either not that tame or possibly infected with Echinococcus.
But, here at Miyagi Zao Fox Village,
the"villagers" are guarded against such infectious diseases with periodical dosages of parasiticide and yearly inspection of parasite eggs
- and, above all, the zoo compound is routinely sterilized.
(Cuddling a fox in your arms)
Don't you know it's rare to have a fluffy fox sit on your laps?
You wear a special coat, sit on the chair, and wait.
The attendant will bring a fluffy fox right on your laps.
Touch his (or her) coat and see how fluffy that is - what a thrill!
This fox cuddling session holds twice daily for an additional charge of ¥600.
By the way, foxes are rather timid and can bite at signals of screams and big voices, so this session is open only for adults.
You can make friends with rabbits and goats, too
So, kids can't cuddle foxes but play with rabbits and goats at the Friendly Plaza.
It's free to play with those animals; in case feeding them, get a bag for ¥100.
We recommend strolling over fallen leaves to enjoy glorious autumn in Miyagi Zao
Miyagi Zao Fox Village is open throughout the year, but the best of all seasons is definitely the months of autumn.
From late September to early October, the area is rich with autumnal charms
- the golden rice fields on your way to the Fox Village, the sight of bundles of rice plants hung on the shelves, and so on,
all of which are sure to please your eyes.
From October through November,
the entire compound is totally covered with fallen leaves and gives an appearance of one enormous yellow carpet.
And in this season, not only the scenery but the foxes as well undergo a process of changes unknown in the other seasons.
The foxes wear off their autumnal coats and on they put a fluffiest costume fit for the wintertime.
Take a look at those "balls of foxes" here and there on the fallen leaves.
You will wonder which ball to photo.
(Foxes on the Snow)
Means of transportation
The fox village is located in the heart of nature-rich hills best suited for visiting by car.
Rent-a-Car is conveniently available near JR Shiroishi Station.
Curly roads stretch in the hills.
If driving your own car in November and thereafter, be sure that your car wears studless tires.
Just for your info, there are a couple of amusing spots several minutes of drive away from the zoo: Yajiro Kokeshi Doll Village.
Here, you can enjoy coloring the wooden Kokeshi dolls, about 10 minutes away;
and the Shiroishi Castle where you put on the armor (replica) of the eminent warlord Date Masamune, 20 minutes of drive away.