What Does the Fox Say?!
An old-school train car rattles up the tracks, stopping every so often for new passengers to enter, and the others to enjoy the view. Miles of mountains en-cusp the horizon, boxing in the fields, houses, and occasional temples. The train slowly makes it way north, rocking myself and the other quiet passengers to sleep. As for me, I was too excited to catch some shut-eye. Although the ride was over 3 hours long, I was too focused on the destination: Miyagi Zao Fox Village.
One of the best parts about traveling by train in Japan is how quiet the passengers can be. It’s rude to speak above a whisper, and forbidden to use a cellphone to make calls while riding. Both of these ingredients make for a very peaceful journey. Perfect for losing yourself in your thoughts, or enjoying a cat nap; I covet these activities and usually partake as often as possible. (Cat naps all around!) I wish it was nearly as safe or as casual to take a nap in public in the U.S….
Zao Fox Village
Who wouldn’t be excited to see the foxes? These little guys are THE CUTEST. Cho Kawaii! Hundreds of Artic, Gray, Red, Silver, and Cross foxes roamed around freely in Fox Village, in various stages of consciousness.
There was plenty of space to house the whole horde, and a medical tent to care for injured or sick foxes. Some young ones were kept in separate cages from the remainder of the free-roaming mass, and a small pack of bunnies is in a separate facility in the back, along with goats, miniature ponies, guinea pigs and ferrets.
But back to the foxes.
Some were obviously tuckered out.
Others were polite enough to allow a photo-op.
Some cuties were hungry and waiting for snacks.
Some little guys were sleeping way up high,
And others down low.
Be careful about dropping your bag during a photo-op. One of them snuck up behind me and tried to steal it!
The baby goats, rabbits, and smaller mammals can be held, along with the foxes during designated time periods. There are only 1 or 2 foxes that are amicable enough for petting time, and even still, it didn’t last more than a few minutes to make sure they didn’t get stressed out at all.
Take a bullet train or a local train to Shirioshi Station, just north 30 minutes of Fukushima. From there, take a cab approximately 20 minutes into the mountain. The taxi will cost approximately 35.00 yen. All cabs know where you want to go to, and mine had a small book of fox pictures in the cabin with us.
The village opens at 9 and closes at 4pm. Note that you will probably spend around 2 hours or less there. It’s much chillier than the temperature at the station. Bring a jacket!