Best time to travel to Japan

Zao Fox Village in Japan

Around 200 fluffy residents of this village enjoy its diverse infrastructure with fox hotels as an alternative to fox houses, also fox feeding area, and even fox shrine—everything to cater their needs

Best time: March–October

Zao Fox Village
Zao Fox Village
Zao Fox Village

The cute village was founded at the base of lush Zao mountain back in 1990. This is home 100-200 of six different fox species. Besides the dominating Japanese red fox, other types include black and platinum foxes, and also white arctic species. Just don't be confused with all those zoo-like caged foxes when you first enter the sanctuary. It consists of two parts—go further and you'll find yourself in the open area which is rather wild.

The beasties inhabiting the village are just amusing, half-cat and half-dog, some more friendly and some less. You'll probably be most surprised to hear a funny scowling-miaowing sounds they produce while fighting.

The vulpines usually rest in "fox houses", or "fox hotels rooms" in the Fox Hotel Street, when others don't give up their wild habits and dig foxholes, regardless of all modern conveniences available. In fact, the beasts are quite wild, which is why you're advised not to pet them, and throw the food on the ground rather than hand feed them. Fox food is provided for a fee and there's a special feeding area. Finally, the fox shrine must be one of the most amusing elements of the village.

Zao village is open year-round, but if you don't like snow and mud, you should avoid winter. If you want to observe the cutest inhabitants, the foxlings are born in March to April. Many visitors love to come during autumn colours display. So the best season to visit the sanctuary must be from March on through October.

Practical info

What is the purpose of Zao Fox Village?

Zao Fox Village is a fox sanctuary located in Japan, at the base of Zao mountain. The location houses around 200 foxes of six different species, providing a natural environment with various fox houses, feeding areas, and hotels. The sanctuary is an ideal location to observe these amusing, dog-like and cat-like creatures up close, and is heavily visited due to its popularity within Japan’s countryside. Show more

What is the distance from Tokyo to Zao Fox Village?

Zao Fox Village is situated in Miyagi prefecture (Shiroishi city) in Japan, located approximately 450 km north of Japan's capital, Tokyo. The sanctuary is open for tourists to visit from different locations, with transport options including cars, trains or buses. The location provides a breathtaking view of Japan's countryside and the animals in their natural habitat. Show more

When are the best months to visit Zao Fox Village?

Zao Fox Village is best visited between March and October when the weather is optimal, and the foxes can be watched playing and being their entertaining selves. The animals are at their happiest during May when foxlings are born, and it is the perfect time to capture lively behavior amongst fox families on a photograph. Travelers should avoid winters at the sanctuary, as the terrain changes and may be unpleasant due to mud, and the animals become less visible. Show more

Is it safe to touch or feed the foxes at Zao Fox Village?

Visitors should avoid touching and feeding the animals at Zao Fox Village as the creatures are innately wild despite inhabiting a tame environment. Food should be thrown onto the ground rather than hand-fed to the foxes irrespective of their curious and charming looks. To sustain safety, animals must be looked at a distance, which reduces the risk of any harm to either the visitors or the creatures. Show more

How many fox species thrive at Zao Fox Village?

Zao Fox Village in Miyagi prefecture houses around 200 Japanese foxes of six different species: Japanese red foxes, black, platinum, and white arctic. The site is a fascinating place to observe the distinctive characteristics of each species, such as their interactions with each other, often heard making funny noises while fighting or gathering food for their daily sustenance. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin