Japan is a much loved tourist destination due to its beautiful sakura trees and enchanting temples. However, it is not only the history of the country that visitors come to see, but also its magical animal sanctuaries. The two cat islands of Japan – Tashirojima in Miyagi prefecture and Aoshima in Ehime prefecture – are already famous worldwide attracting tourists due to the charm of the feline inhabitants. However, Japan also boasts an island inhabited by hundreds of wild rabbits and also the Zao Fox Village.
The Zao Fox Village is located in the mountains near Shiroishi, in the Miyagi prefecture. It is home to more than 100 animals and six different types of foxes. The foxes are free and roam the preserve that is open to visitors. As opposed to many animal sanctuaries where animals cannot be fed, visitors can spend about 100 yen in order to be provided with food to feed the foxes. However, since the animals are not domesticated, the visitors are cautioned not to hand feed them. Moreover, bringing small children is not advised due to the same reasons. The foxes are known to follow the guests after being fed, much like puppies demanding more food.
The sanctuary was established in 1990 and allows visitors to see foxes in a semi-wild state. Although the traditional Japanese Red Fox is the most common one, the sanctuary is also home to black foxes, platinum foxes, and arctic foxes, all in all six different shades. Foxes are not the only animals that can be seen in the Zao Fox Village. Visitors can also encounter rabbits and baby goats.
There are several traditional torii gates that lead to the village and one standing within. These gates allude to the foxes’ position in Japanese mythology where they are perceived as the agents of the god Inari. What do you think of the Zao Fox Village? Would you like to visit it?
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