Fox Village: Even Better With Snow On Top!


I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I finally made it to Zao Fox Village last spring, but it’s a good thing I didn’t actually shuffle off this mortal coil due to fox-induced bliss, because then I would have missed seeing all these fluffy vixen in the SNOW!

In the winter, they're at their fattest and furriest!
In the winter, they’re at their fattest and furriest!
With tails set at maximum fluff
With tails set to maximum fluff
Fur pillows dotted the hillside
Sleepy fur pillows were everywhere
Although there were plenty of foxes running around, ready to gather at the food platform when anyone appeared with a bags of snacks.
But there were plenty of foxes running around, scampering to the feeding platform when they heard the telltale crinkle of a snack bag*
I guess all those baby foxlets grew up, because it seemed like there were a lot more loafs of ginger goodness this time
I guess all those squee-worthy baby foxlets grew up, because it seemed like there were a lot more loafs of ginger goodness this time
And this crafty one really knew how to play to the crowd
Nothing like a good stretch after a nap
I choose to believe these foxlings were not trashtalking my ugly snow boots
I choose to believe these foxlings were not trashtalking my ugly snow boots

This is just the first installment of fox-centric posts, because the second I walked through the Fox Village gate, my camera was possessed by some sort of  snap-happy demon, and it took HUNDREDS of pictures all by itself. I’m still wading through them, and will post more soon!

If you’d like to go to Fox Village, detailed directions are here. Getting there is a major schlep (two hours by bullet train from Tokyo, then a ¥5000 each way taxi ride), and sometimes the roads aren’t passable in the winter because of snow. Be sure to check the weather forecast and the Fox Village website before you leave, because it would be terrible to get all the way to Shiroishizao and NO NO NO SO CLOSE AND YET SO FAR AIEEEEE!

*Update: Since the pandemic, visitors are no longer allowed to feed the foxes, but you can still roam around among them throughout the rest of the compound.

And just in case you haven’t gotten enough foxes yet…

Fox Village Videos are here


How To Go To Zao Fox Village is here!

The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for
Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Published by Jonelle Patrick

Writes all the Japan things.

12 thoughts on “Fox Village: Even Better With Snow On Top!

    1. I didn’t ask what they’re fed, but the animals all looked fat and healthy, so I’m guessing that the people who take care of the foxes do a pretty good job of giving them the kind of food that suits their needs. The fox snacks they sell to visitors are some sort of kibble, but not anything I recognized (not surprising, since I only know American pet foods.)

      Interestingly enough, the pet owners I know here feed their dogs and cats differently than most American pet owners I know. In Japan, they think their animals should have a mix of protein, veggies and rice, not just meat. (Of course, I don’t know anybody anywhere who keeps foxes, so your guess is as good as mine what they ought to have!)

  1. 1) What do the foxes SAY?
    2) Do they do barrel (alieron) rolls?
    3) Where can I find these foxes and
    4) can I roll around them like Peter Griffin in a pile of puppies?

    1. The foxes sound like babies crying! It’s really weird. And while you can’t roll around among them like a pile of puppies, you CAN go into the fox habitat and walk around among them (unlike at American zoos, where some idiot would naturally do something stupid/dangerous/actionable on the very first day and ruin it for everyone.)

      The foxes aren’t tame, though, so the closest I got to them was when one curious fellow came up to check out my boots last spring. If you’re really serious about going, I posted detailed directions last spring, the first time I went. They’re here: It’s a commitment, though, because it’s really in utter, utter, bf Idaho.

      1. I’m as serious as someone can be about going to a village full of foxes lol. We’re going to be on land for the rest of the year (minus like two weeks spread over two months) so I want to get as much culture in as I can. Fox Village is a new bullet point for me (under Kyoto and Osaka, which are apparently really close together). 😀

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