The people of Japan love animals. They have an island just for cats and
another island just for rabbits. So why wouldn't they set up a "village"
just for foxes. The Zao Fox Village in the Miyagi Prefecture is a
sanctuary for foxes and is home to over 100 of the creatures. There are
six different breeds of fox in the park and the place is open to
visitors. Tourists come from all over Japan to get to interact with the
When you first get to the sanctuary, which opened in 1990, is a bit like a petting zoo. There a number of different animals, in addition to the foxes, that you can pet and hold and take pictures. Then you go through a door into the incredible part.
The real part of the sanctuary is wide open and filled with trees and bushes -- and a mob of free-roaming foxes. They swarm all over and come in all colors and sizes. You can buy food for 100 yen (less than a dollar) to toss to them. It is highly recommended that you don't try to hand feed them. After all you don't want to get bit in the excitement.
The "village" part is a series of structures that provide places for the foxes to shelter or snooze. There is even a Shinto shrine since foxes are traditionally sacred. While they are seen as clever the same as in Western cultures, they are also believed to be able to shape shift and grow multiple tails. They are considered to be the messengers of Inari, the Shinto god of prosperity.
While the foxes are quite cute and cuddly looking, they are still wild. So you shouldn't try petting them. While some are habituated enough to humans to approach you in search of food, others will shy warily away. Enjoy them at a little bit of a distance. After all, this is a lot closer to foxes than you are ever likely to get without moving to the wilderness.