Surround Yourself With These Fantastic Foxes at Zao Fox Village

If you have a day to spare during your stay in Tokyo you should totally visit the Miyagi Zao Fox Village. It's located in Shiroishi (Miyagi Prefecture) - an easy train ride away. Hundreds of really cute wild foxes run free in this large forest-like sanctuary. Surprisingly (given how adorable the foxes are) this is a less popular destination for tourists compared to bunny island, deer heaven in Nara and all the countless animal cafes.

How to get there

From Tokyo take the Shinkansen to Shiroishizao station. If you board from Tokyo station you won't even have to change trains! Use the Hyperdia scheduling tool to find a convenient time. My advice is to leave Tokyo as early as possible so you have maximum time with the cute foxes (the village closes at 4pm)

Once you arrive at Shiroishizao station, you'll need to get a taxi to the fox village. The train station has a small JR tourism office out front and they will call you a cab if they are none outside the station. Look around for other travelers going to the fox sanctuary and you can split the cab fare. The cost for the ride would be 4000-5000 yen each way (bring cash).

Entrance fee for Zao Fox Village is 1000 yen.

When you are ready to leave, exit through the gift shop and ask the checkout register to call you a taxi back to the train station. It takes about 20min for the cab to come pick you up. Once again, make friends with people leaving and split the cab fare. :)

Tips

Check the weather. We went there at the end of March and there was still snow everywhere. I wish I had gloves and a warm scarf with me. Bonus: the foxes are fluffier and cuter when it's cold though, because their fur is thicker to keep them warm.

While in the village you will hear announcements on the loud speakers. We didn't know what they were about but it turns out that they tell you when you can go by the entrance and hold one fox in your lap and cuddle it. I recommend it, but beware they smell a little bit. :)

Read the directions given to you at the front office carefully but don't freak out. They make it sound like the foxes will bite you if you get too close to them. They are actually very playful and reminded me of cute little dogs. They do love playing tug of war, so if you have anything dangling, they'll definitely latch onto it and pull.

You can totally give the foxes some food (the special food you buy on the spot, 200 yen) off the feeding platform. The moment they hear the plastic bag in your pocket they will follow you around (they won't attack you, at least they never attempted attacking us). It's better to drop the food on the ground or throw it gently in the air to avoid an accidental bite. Using the food is a good way to capture some close up photos of these majestic animals.