Fluffiest Place on Earth: Miyagi Zao Fox Village (Japan Journey Information)
I had a mission after I revisited Japan final November: to go to the fluffiest place on earth… Miyagi Zao Fox Village in Shiroishi! In spite of everything, ever since I noticed the net articles that featured this spectacular place, I simply knew that I needed to go — so I did, and also you wager I nearly ‘died’ of happiness as a result of they have been ALL. SO. ADORABLE!!!
…And sure, it’s a village-esque free-roaming forest protect filled with foxes; and by ‘foxes’, I imply actual wild foxes!
As a few of you might have already heard, aside from this fox place, there are different well-known ‘paradise locations’ in Japan for animal-lovers: a rabbit island in Okunoshima, a cat island in Tashirojima, and a deer park in Nara and Miyajima. . Since I’ve already visited the deer parks throughout my 1st go to to Japan in April, I made a decision to go to this place subsequent due to my intense fascination for them (certainly I can simply see rabbits and cats anytime I would like — however for elusive wild foxes? Nope!)
I used to be able to do a solo journey to the fox village in Miyagi prefecture at the moment; nonetheless, happiness is finest skilled when shared, proper? That’s why I invited my pal, Kaila, who was residing in Tokyo at the moment to come back with me, and I’m so glad that I did as a result of we had a swell time!
Come and browse on under to see how our expertise went! And at the underside of this text, you’ll see an in depth journey information the place I talk about attain this fox village so that you just (and your folks) might drown of their cuteness as nicely. ♥︎
Concerning the Fox Village
Miyagi Zao Fox Village or Kitsune Mura is an 18,000 sq. ft enclosed space in a large-scale forest discovered on the outskirts of Shiroishi metropolis. There are about 200 free-roaming foxes right here who have been saved from slaughter for the fur commerce and up to now, there are 6 forms of them: the uncommon silver fox, arctic fox, Japanese purple fox, cross fox, platinum fox, and platinum gold fox.
Clearly, this place is NOT a village. It’s slightly an animal-sanctuary-slash-zoo the place foxes are introduced as much as be taken care of the remainder of their lives, and that as a way to proceed breeding, feeding, and defending them, the homeowners open the ‘village’ to the general public. That being stated, guests are free to roam inside and see them up shut — nonetheless, touching the foxes is NOT allowed as a result of they’re not completely tamed.
TRIVIA: Foxes or ‘kitsune‘ are in style topics in Japanese mythology and folklore as they’re generally depicted as clever beings who possess magical talents and who may even shape-shift right into a human kind. . On account of these tales, foxes and people again in historical Japan truly lived shut collectively which in a while elevated their supernatural significance. For one factor, kitsune have been intently related to Inari Okami, a Shinto kami or spirit of wealth + prosperity + rice, as its messengers. That’s why as much as today, some folks make choices to them as a deity in shrines due to their potential ‘energy’. . With all that stated and achieved, you will be assured of the truth that the Japanese love and respect foxes.
» Entrance Workplace
The entrance workplace has Japanese personnel, and as you may count on, they don’t communicate English nicely. Nevertheless, they’ve ready indicators and demonstrations (with some components translated into English) that provides you with all the small print that you just want.
At this level, it’s a must to pay the entrance payment of ¥1,000 yen ($8~ or Php 40~) and you too can purchase meals for feeding the foxes in a while (optionally available at ¥100 yen or lower than a greenback / Php 45~).
Some essential issues to recollect:
Do NOT carry some other meals contained in the fox enclosure. If you happen to purchase one of many meals packs for the foxes on the reception, it’s essential to hold it inside your bag. Take it out and use it to feed close by foxes solely once you’re within the feeding space.
NOTE: The foxes are conversant in the meals packs and to stop them from snatching it away from you and from by chance consuming the plastic of the packaging, please disguise it away from them. .
Younger kids are allowed to go in, but it surely’s advisable to hold your youngsters when there are close by roaming foxes. .
Watch out of your belongings, particularly the smaller issues as a result of they may simply mistake it for meals. As soon as they catch one thing from you, you’ll probably not get it again since they may shortly run away and bury it someplace.
FACT: Foxes LOVE digging holes and burying their meals as a result of at a younger age, they have been taught to retailer meals in case of dire occasions. For positive the foxes listed here are fed on a regular basis, however they nonetheless dig and bury meals by intuition. .
Do NOT pet nor contact the foxes contained in the enclosure. They may chew. And once they’re sleeping, do NOT hassle nor harass them both; allow them to be.
NOTE: Foxes are largely nocturnal, spending many of the day resting or sleeping. .
» Exterior the Enclosed Space
I didn’t handle to take photographs(as a result of I swiftly went contained in the ‘village’) however earlier than you enter the gates that lead you to the ‘fox village’ itself, there’s an space simply outdoors the reception the place you’ll already see a couple of foxes — nonetheless, they’re both in cages or in a collar leash.
This can make you unhappy or it’d even enrage you; however apparently, these foxes have been largely juvenile ones that wanted to be handled and separated from the remainder as a way to hasten their therapeutic course of (others have been being vaccinated for the reason that sanctuary makes it a degree to maintain away any illnesses). The employees often retains them in for some time till they’re okay to exit to the open subject with the others.
Additionally, you will see that there are some youthful foxes in cages and so they’re largely being saved there for correct rearing earlier than they’re free to roam the principle enclosure space with the remainder of the opposite mature foxes. It is because new child foxes are unable to see, hear or stroll; in order that they want correct care throughout that age. To notice, it’s right here that guests are free to hold and pose with these youthful foxes for ¥400 yen for a couple of minutes. You’ll simply be required to put on a jacket that they supply (for defense) earlier than holding the fox.
Plainly they solely give out the youthful ones this petting alternative as a result of they’re not as finicky with the human contact given their younger age. (In spite of everything, it was talked about of their weblog that petting and picture alternatives might be unavailable if there are not any new child fox cubs. Nonetheless and the identical, I do NOT advocate that you just do it.)
Apart from foxes, you too can pet different animals right here resembling rabbits, ponies, and goats. However then once more, I didn’t actually come there to pet these animals nor the foxes — I simply need to be surrounded by TONS of those cute little fellas up shut!
And so, off I went to the principle fox village’s enclosed space…
» Contained in the Enclosed Space
It was the autumn season after I visited, so as soon as I stepped into the 18,000 ft forest, you may simply think about how surreal it was to all of a sudden see a number of purple foxes on this scarlet panorama!
As I began to stroll, I seen a trait that was frequent to all of those cute foxes too: if I stand nonetheless, their inane curiosity will take over and they’ll willingly come as much as me! HOWEVER, the second that I moved an inch or began strolling, they instantly scamper away.
Simply be conscious although once you sit down as a result of they could begin biting your garments and even your butt. This brings us again to the concept that although these foxes are loads tamer than wild foxes, they’re nonetheless technically ‘wild’ and introduced up in a manner that’s nearly akin to life as if they’re ‘outdoors’.
When the paved highway ended, I began to climb up the hill to discover the remainder of the place. Up there, I noticed much more foxes who have been both sleeping or strolling round (most likely searching for meals).
I then proceeded to take my candy time in making stops and picturing these fluffy creatures!
Someplace on the prime in the midst of the forest, you’d discover the feeding station which is a wood construction raised on stilts. It’s simple to identify given the indicators AND the variety of foxes who’re eagerly ready for meals to be thrown at them from this platform. ‘Throw’, as a result of they do NOT assist you to feed the foxes by hand. (It’s arduous anyway to feed them by hand should you’re at this high-rise feeding station — however nonetheless, it helps that you just’re reminded of this).
Additionally, once you stroll into this feeding station, just be sure you shut the door behind you and that you just don’t let any of the foxes in. As soon as inside, do prepared your fox treats as you put together to have your coronary heart melted by a number of lovely furry eyes under!
NOTE: As with all animal, a few of these foxes will combat for the meals that you just throw so I recommend that you just throw the treats at remoted foxes to keep away from any scuffle amongst them.
If you happen to go additional out, you will note a shrine with kitsune statues and a torii gate that’s frequent for Shinto shrines.
As I spent extra time inside, I lastly received the possibility to listen to how a fox’s “bark” appears like — and heck… this was the one factor that was NOT cute about them. Their voice actually appeared like a blood-curdling scream that may solely be the stuff of nightmares! (If you wish to hear ‘what does the fox say’, simply watch the YouTube video I’ve above.)
Their barking apart, foxes nonetheless stay to be pleasant and fascinating in my books, and I’m so glad that a spot like this exists! On the finish of this expertise, I noticed that they only may nicely be my spirit animal — they sleep loads, eat loads, are mischievous, and have a scream that may rage hell on Earth if aggravated. *wink*
NOTE: When you come again, there’s a small memento/present store behind the reception. Relaxation assured, should you see merchandise with fur, they’re comprised of pretend fur (like plushies and so on.), apart from a couple of key chains that you can find there that are comprised of actual fox fur — HOWEVER, these are all from Norway and Denmark (…a bit ironic, yeah; I hope they cease promoting that). However, the Fox Village says that they by no means breed their foxes for fur.
» Side of Ethics
I’ve seen a few blended reactions about this place and I completely perceive the priority. To start with, very similar to a zoo, there’s no denying that this institution earnings from these animals; nonetheless, I personally don’t have any qualms about that type of set-up for so long as they correctly handle the foxes — which they seemingly do right here!
Seeing all of them up shut, the “residents” seemed energetic, pleased, wholesome, and nicely taken care of to me. Additionally, the strict guidelines that the sanctuary implements about not touching these animals was a plus for me, in addition to the truth that the unique foxes that have been taken in right here have been saved from slaughter from the fur commerce (in response to the institution’s caretakers).
NOTE: Foxes usually shed their fur in the beginning of spring and have shorter fur (or look much less fluffier) by summer season, making them look ‘patchy’. Come autumn and winter, the foxes will begin to develop extra fur to guard themselves from the chilly. . I’ve learn opinions on-line who’ve commented on their patchy furs, saying that they seemed unhealthy due to that — however I believe they didn’t know this pure strategy of fur shedding by foxes that’s why it led them to assume as such
Secondly, I wholly agree with the idea of leaving animals to the wild. Nevertheless, given as we speak’s occasions, most of them may want some kind of safety. Trying on the information, a fox within the wild has a median life span of 2-4 years solely due to searching practices and highway accidents. (You can’t think about the quantity of people that would ‘kill’ for fox fur, nor the quantity of people that do fox looking for enjoyable/sport just like the UK for instance).
In Miyagi Zao Fox village, their foxes can dwell as much as 14 years outdated! I positively see that as added proof that they’re fantastic being right here.
Now, some may recommend releasing them into the wild after a sure age too, however I believe that’s not a good suggestion as a result of given their upbringing, they may not survive on the market anymore and their possibilities of survival will change into slimmer. To not point out that they’re extra vulnerable to illnesses within the wild.
If it helps to notice, foxes are additionally one of many few animals who don’t endure any sort of stress when below captivity — a whole lot of researchers are trying into this trait that they’ve in order that they may probably learn the way they’ll alleviate stress for different animals in captivity.
However, even when they’re raised in-house, they’re nonetheless introduced up in a manner that goals to protect their pure traits. (For instance, they let the foxes do their notorious cub separation course of which you’ll study extra about on their web site right here.)
All in all, should you hate zoo environments or any kind of animal enclosure regardless of if the situations are nicely and good, I recommend that you just don’t go to this place or it is going to make you uncomfortable. As for me, I simply attempt to hold an open thoughts and I don’t instantly shun each animal park, particularly if the animals are well-cared for. That being stated, I stay to advocate this place to you guys!
Although after all, I do admit that there will be sure enhancements that may be made right here — resembling higher cages, higher processes, extra English supplies to elucidate how they operate, and so on. a lot like me, do be happy to speak or ship an electronic mail to the employees (should you can’t communicate Japanese) about your feedback since they’re very open to listening to what their guests assume.
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Concerning the Fox Village
» Handle Particulars
I extremely recommend that you just do that as a day journey when you’re visiting Tokyo because it’s only some hours away by practice!
ADDRESS: Kawarago-11-3 Fukuokayatsumiya, Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture 989-0733 TELEPHONE: 0224-24-8812 WEBSITE: www.zao-fox-village.com EMAIL: [email protected] HOURS OF OPERATION: 9:00AM to 16:00PM ADMISSION FEE: ¥1,000 yen ($8~ or Php 40~) for adults. Kids below 12 years outdated are free to enter. Fox meals is at ¥100 yen (lower than a greenback / Php 45~) per bag, however that is optionally available.
» The way to Get to the Fox Village from Tokyo
First, experience a shinkansen that may take you to Shiroishi-Zao Station through the Tohoku Shinkansen (Yamabiko 129やまびこ Sendai) practice line. You should utilize Google Maps to map out your route relying on the place you might be positioned in Tokyo as a way to attain Shiroishi-Zao Station.
For instance, you will get the Tohoku Shinkansen at Tokyo Station or Ueno Station and it takes lower than 2 hours to get to Shiroishi-Zao.
With JR Go: you do NOT must pay. Simply current your move on the station.
With out JR Go: ticket prices round ¥9,000 yen a method solely ($80~ or Php 4,000~).
*If you happen to don’t have a Japan Rail Go (JR Go) and discover the practice tickets to be too pricey, you may take a freeway bus from Tokyo to Sendai that prices about ¥3,000 to ¥5,000 yen. Nevertheless, take observe that this takes about 6 hours. When you attain Sendai, it is advisable catch an everyday practice to Shiroishi-Zao Station (prices about ¥750 yen).
When you’re at Shiroishi-Zao, there are a number of choices you may select from to succeed in the fox village:
By taxi: There are taxis lined up outdoors the station. In case you don’t see any, be happy to ask the JR workplace within the station to name a taxi for you. It price us ¥3,900 one option to (for about 20 minutes). The taxi driver will hand you a paper just like the one under which you must current to the reception at fox village as soon as it is advisable return to the practice station (in order that he’ll come again to choose you up, wherein the fee will stay the identical; so it’s finest that you just include others so you may break up the fee).
By bus: There’s a line known as Citadel-kun that runs on Tuesdays and Fridays and goes to Kawarago Rattling from the station round 8AM and 4PM. The fox place isn’t an everyday cease although, so it’s a must to let the motive force know. Just be sure you affirm the time that it returns as nicely. (Price: ¥200 yen a method).
If you happen to want additional assist, simply use the instructions characteristic in Google Maps — I discover this as a really useful device if I need to attain a sure place from a selected location. (Nevertheless, Google Maps doesn’t work offline if you’d like routes or transportation schedules, so I like to recommend that you just get a pocket WiFi or a SIM Card to remain related on-line).
» Useful Tricks to Bear in mind
There may be fox poo EVERYWHERE. So be ready to get poo caught below your footwear.
Foxes are literally fairly smelly and that scent can cling on to your garments.
If you wish to see the foxes at their ‘fluffiest’ fur, go to throughout autumn or winter.
I counsel that you just seize a chew beforehand as a result of there isn’t a restaurant or consuming place within the fox village (it’s just about remoted). At Shiroishi-Zao station, you should purchase meals or snacks on the comfort retailer there (konbini).
» Useful Japanese Phrases
Hiya: Konnichiwa (Kohn-nee-chee-wah) Thanks (regular): Arigatō. (Ah-REE-gah-tohh) Thanks (much less formal): Arigatō gozaimas (Ah-REE-gah-tohh goh-zahy-mahs) Thanks (casual): Dōmo (DOHH-moh) Sure: Hai (Hai) No: Iie (E-eh) Goodbye (long run): Sayōnara (Sah-yohh-nah-rah) Goodbye (casual): Ja ne (Jahh neh)
Excuse me: Sumimasen (Soo-mee-mah-SEN) I’m sorry: Gomen nasai (Goh-men-nah-sahy) Is there somebody right here who speaks English?: Dareka eigo ga hanasemasu ka? (Dah-reh-kah ey-goh gah hah-nah-seh-mahs kah?) Assist!: Tasukete! (Tahs-keh-teh!) Cheers!: Kanpai! (Kan-pie!)
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»Prime Japan Excursions«
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I used to be past overjoyed after I visited this place that’s stuffed with cute, curious, fluffy, and photogenic furries! It was actually a memorable expertise.
Then again, I received’t deny it: I had blended emotions about visiting this place (I’ll all the time have blended emotions about visiting animals in captivity). However like I’ve already talked about above, from what I’ve seen and from what I’ve discovered, I’ve no qualms about this place since they’re treating the foxes nicely. General: I go away it as much as you to resolve if you wish to go to this place or not given the knowledge that I give above.
P.S. On condition that I don’t communicate Japanese, I actually tried my finest to offer you all of this data by means of private expertise, analysis, and correspondence with the Fox Village’s employees; therefore, I dearly want that this journey information will be of assist do you have to resolve to go to. Let me know!