Hi friends! Sorry it took so long to write about my experience at the Fox Village. I was busy moving back home and didn’t have time to write much. Anyway, I guess a lot of you may have heard about Japan’s Fox Village. It went viral for a while; I saw some articles with cute photos of foxes, so it became one of my must-visit spots before leaving Japan.
It was during a holiday and shinkansens/trains were expensive. I luckily found a pretty good deal for a night bus. It’s twice normal price but still better after considering our limited time and budget. We left from Tokyo station around midnight and reached Sendai station 5AM ish. We planned to put stuff down at our guesthouse first. It’s a station away from Sendai but we would have to wait for an hour for that train line to start operating. We decided to walk and it took around half an hour.
Funny story about this guesthouse…Because this was our last-minute trip, most of the hotels were all booked (especially, cheap hostels). We almost gave up and talked about staying over night at an internet cafe or a karaoke room. BUT..I found this sketchy website of a guesthouse that costs only 2000 yen/night/person! There’s only one picture on their website – an old building with lots of flags. Normally, I would never risk staying at a random place I don’t even know what the room looks like. This time we had no choice. I called and asked for a room for 4. They were going to put us in a dorm room but I asked if they had a private room for 4. They did and they weren’t going to charge extra so I told them we’re getting that. I told my friends to not expect anything from this place. It’s very possible that it’s so dirty, that’s why there’s no photo on the website!
We finally made it to the guesthouse. It was up on the hill in a quiet neighborhood. I let the staff know the day I booked that we would be arriving super early. They said it’s okay, just give them a call. I think we were a bit loud since the lady staff came out to greet us right away. She just woke up and looked tired. She showed us around and whispered the whole time, afraid she might wake someone up. She was really nice and said we can just go rest in the room. (Typical hostels would let us leave our bags and come back later after a check-in time) My friends didn’t get to sleep in the bus so they wanted to nap for a couple hours.
After some good naps, we left the guesthouse and headed to Zao Fox Village. We took a train from Sendai station to Shiroishi station, then took a cab (about 4,000YEN one-way) there. There were some tourists but not as crowded as we thought.
The Fox Village was not something I expected. I thought it would be similar to those deer in Nara. They can walk freely wherever and whenever they want. The Fox Village was more like a big cage with a lot of foxes inside. There was also an area where some foxes (and other animals) were put in a small cage or tied with rope. Some of them were so skinny, we could see their bones. It’s not a pleasant thing to see. If you would like to visit cute foxes and leave with a good feeling, the Fox Village is not what you’re looking for. We were disappointed with overrated reviews online.
I actually saw some negative comments before visiting but didn’t give it much credits. I was hypnotized by cuteness overload of their pictures. I do understand those who are curious about the place. Don’t let my blog stop you. 🙂 Just remember not to expect only the nice sides.
Hopefully, this place will be changed for the better. (Visited October 10, 2015)