Travel Winter in Japan

Japan Year-end Getaway : Miyagi Zao Fox Village

Once you decided to go on a trip, your mind would be showered with hundreds of destinations you put a lot of thoughts to make up an itinerary. Traveling in Japan during winter would narrow them down to some places recommended by prior visitors.

I did do the research looking for the winter must-sees and one highlight everyone mentioned is visit the fox village in Zao. Some impressed by the fluffiness of those foxes they even referred to the place ‘the cutest place on earth’. Some concerned about the unnatural execution of confining the foxes to live in the shared space since they are pretty much isolated and hunt alone in nature. With all these point of views, I was quite convinced by them all but you would never know what it is really like until you experience it yourself.

Day 5 (2019-01-02) : Tokyo – Sendai

The most convenient and cheapest way to access the village if you are coming from Tokyo is by Castle Kun bus. It connects Shiroishi station and the Kawarago Dam every Tuesday and Friday. Never forget a little detail that the village closes on Wednesdays. And from December 29 until January 3, the Castle Kun bus is not available. Yep! With all these information, it left us a taxi as the only option to get there from Shiroishi station (we were on New Year holiday break so still no bus at the time). It costed roughly 4,000yen for one-way to the village. A little tip is ask the other guests if they would like to share a cab from/back to Shiroishi-zao station to split the fare.

More info on how to get to the village:

At the village, you get many rules to follow before you enter which I find very helpful and I highly recommend you to stick with them. One of the rules that I really want to emphasize out of the others is you really should keep all of your belongings neat and tight. No dangling objects otherwise you will be approached by the fox. While we were roaming in the open (still a fenced up) area where foxes are freely resided, I experienced this myself though. I did absolutely follow the rule but a little reckless not to check out my shoelaces as they dangled a little. I noticed one red fox sneaked around for a while and finally approached me for my shoelaces. I think it was trying to steal my shoes too as the shiny leather attracted it to. That was a little heck of a tuck-of-war between me and the fox.

There were hundreds of foxes with different colors but most of them were orange (red fox). I was surely impressed by the fluffiness of those foxes, they definitely looked adorable but I have to admit that they didn’t certainly look happy. Some of them freshly got a horrible wound on its face from a fight with other foxes as they aren’t meant to live together by nature. Moreover, even though the place was beautifully covered with snow, I still felt the stale and musty smell coming out from all over the place.

There will be an announcement for such special events like petting and hugging. After the announcement is made, people would line up in front of the small hall before a souvenir shop waiting to hold the tamed foxes. It costed 600yen (hope I didn’t get rip-off since I learned the fee was 400yen before).

I wasn’t sure how I really felt after the exploration. One thing I did aware is that I resumed rambling nervously and got a little bit of paranoid after that fox tried to waggle my shoelaces off 555 (Hahaha).


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