Zao Fox Village | ‘Dancing with foxes’ in Japan

If you liked ‘Dances with Wolves‘ as much as we did and feel that in another life you were Arapahoe Indians, there is a place in Japan you have to try to visit at any costs. We are talking about the Zao Fox Village, a town dedicated to the foxes at the foot of Mount Zao (Shiroishi, Miyagi).

My sanctuary
My sanctuary

This village offers a haven where you can see up to 100 foxes running around freely between the legs of visitors, happily receiving the food they are given, which are nothing but religious offerings as a result of the traditions in the Japanese culture.

Red beauty
Red beauty

Founded in 1990, this village allows those who visitit to experience what life is beside foxes. In the shelter coexist up to six different breeds of foxes, among which stands the Red Fox, but you can also see black, silver and white foxes since they have gotten adapted to several climates ranging from desert to the Arctic.

A hundred foxes of all colours
A hundred foxes of all colours

What caregivers recommend about these foxes is to never feed the animals with your own hands but throwing the food to them. We cannot forget that they are wild animals, and although it is true that they have gotten used to being in contact with humans we should not try to test their instincts.

Two playmates and their instinct
Two playmates and their instinct

To reach the reserve, you must first go through a sanctuary where you can see how the fox takes an important place in Japanese mythology where it is considered a messenger of god Inari. Two images of this animal flank the effigy of Inari in its sanctuaries, one male and one female. Inari foxes are popularly white, the color of good omen. It is said that Inari foxes have a unequalled healing power, able to cure any illness or injury, however serious and severe it is.

Healing someone
Healing someone

Another example, along with the island of cats in Tashirojima (also in Miyagi prefecture) and the island of rabbits in Okunoshima, of the fascination that certain animals hold, which they are considered to be almost gods, on Japanese society.

Photos: Tatsuro Shimono and paulncaitlin.

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