Tucked away in the mountains of northern Japan is a place called Zao Fox Village where foxes rule! We’ve told you all about the other crazy cute places in Japan where adorable animals outnumber the people like Bunny Island and Cat Island and now it’s all about the foxes!
Zao Fox Village is actually a sanctuary for foxes and other animals like rabbits, goats and crows. But as the name suggests, this place is all about the foxes. The foxes are allowed to roam free within the village and visitors can buy food to feed them. It’s important to be careful around them though, because although they are very cute, they are still wild and can get a bit aggressive! It’s best to just drop the food on the ground and not feed them by hand or try to pet them.
Foxes are usually quite shy animals in the wild and it’s rare to see them up close — especially so many all at once! There are six different types of foxes in the village — all of different sizes and colours. The village is basically a forest and is set in the beautiful scenery of the Miyagi Zao Mountains — sounds pretty magical! Speaking of magic…
You can find kitsune (fox in Japanese) statues all over Japan, like these ones in the fox meeting ground at Toyokawa Inari, one of the main Shinto shrines dedicated to foxes in Japan. (Photo credit: JapanDave via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA)
In Japanese culture and folklore, it is believed that foxes — called kitsune in Japanese — are very wise, have mystical powers and magical abilities. There are old stories of foxes being sly tricksters that can outsmart people. There are other stories that tell how foxes are faithful guardians and friends. Magical or not, they’re definitely cute!
In spring time, after the babies are born, Zao Fox Village has a special event where you can hug a baby fox! Baby foxes are also called kits, pups or cubs. Maybe these fox pups want to join Gary’s Hug Club!