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All reviews unique experience open area jr pass train station time consuming entry fee cost yen feeding platform in december guinea pigs noodles roam freely on tuesdays caged area walking around return taxi snow
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Reviewed June 13, 2015 via mobile

Welcome to the complexity of human experience. Zao Village was a lot larger and significantly less sad than I thought... And also offers unbridled contact with nature that few places can ever offer as you literally walk amongst (and feed) the foxes in an open space. You can even hold a baby fox around 3pm each day. Love foxes? Love animals? Love photography? Go here! Do it! This place is a great spot for Japanese families to bring their kids and also for tourists to get their cute fix. Sound crass? So much of being human is about the gray area... Who's to say no good comes of this or whether it ought or ought not be done?

OK--so I'm not an idiot and I do have mixed feelings about animals in captivity (dependent on many factors like the species/breed of animal, its intelligence, its dependence on humans, conditions of its environment, etc), and I can see why this place is polarizing, but I don't think this is a "blackfish" situation. It would seem that the majority of the foxes are in good health (from my limited medical perspective) and can run freely in the open space provided to them (unless sick). If they don't want to be looked at or talked at (you can't touch them), there's so much space where people can't go that they can hide in. Many foxes, the ones shown in pictures, want to be around people or food. Yes, there are a lot of foxes, but it wasn't disgustingly overpopulated. Some foxes were molting their winter coats so they did look a little strange, but other than that, I didn't see anyone limping about or with missing ears, as stated with other reviews... Every fox was sleeping or sunbathing and generally doing fox things. Yes, foxes fight. It's a form of communication for them. Yes, they are at least partially dependent on treats fed by human visitors. Are they unhappy? Depressed? Longing for a different life, longing for sameness, longing for difference? Do they know they're under constant surveillance? Does this stress them out? I don't know...

OK--The caged foxes in smallish cages, badgers, and crows were a little sad, but I also understand some of it was for their own safety (especially in the case of the sick foxes or kits... Which were on rotation so the times they would be on display would be staggered). The crows, though... They made me sad. Ahh, they are so intelligent and kept calling to people for attention :(

There was also one single uber-fox (aka incredibly good looking) on a chain for the purposes of being pet. Whether this was the case or not, he/she appeared extremely domesticated (which is likely why he/she was chosen to be the "pet") and didn't seem afraid, unhappy or crazed. For all I know, maybe he/she was? He/she actually appeared alright with being the ambassador of the species.

I do agree with one reviewer's comment that the fox tails in the shop were in poor taste... But, come judge for yourself.

That being said: Overall, I enjoyed my time here. It was a little run down and off the beaten path, but if you love foxes and wildlife, you should not pass up this opportunity to view them in an almost natural habitat. This place is definitely worth a visit and can even be somewhat awe-inspiring or invigorating (However, of course, if you find the idea of animals in captivity morally objectionable in every way, then I would not recommend coming here... Or going to zoos, aquariums, farms, research facilities, etc). I, for one, enjoyed the experience... Maybe you will, too?

Date of experience: June 2015
31  Thank WineEnthusiast2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2015

The place was better than I expected. It's not like a zoo where you see animals that have clearly given up on life. Most of the foxes live together in a large enclosure. Yes, they fight for their food and some of them are missing an ear or a tooth but have you seen foxes in the wild? They are as close to the real thing as it gets. Their young, who live in a separate enclosure nearby are a different story and so are the arctic foxes that live in cages. THOSE are pretty sad to see but overall the experience was quite nice. Try visiting in the winter, they look lovely with their thick fur, rolling on snow.

Date of experience: December 2014
5  Thank El C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2015

Someone else mentioned previously it seems like they have good intentions, however it's very poorly executed.

I was really excited to go here and see all the foxes. While I did enjoy getting some great photos and watching the foxes play in the falling snow, some of the foxes looked mangy and miserable. One fox in particular had a huge infected tumor growing off of its face. I tried to ask the staff about the fox and they said it couldn't be treated. I worked in an animal shelter and while we didn't treat foxes it looked to me as if they didn't want to spend the money. There were a couple foxes with cuts, one was missing an ear and a few were limping around. I could be wrong about the extent of these injuries, but I just left feeling really sad and disappointed even though I did spend a couple hours there watching the foxes play.

I really think that they do have the best intentions with the foxes but they keep breeding them and there are clearly too many already. I hope they take some money and fix the place up a bit especially since it is expensive to get out there.

Date of experience: March 2015
19  Thank Natasha R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2015 via mobile

I'm not sure what all the negative reviews were about??
Found it clean and the foxes were not Hungary.
Normal for fox's to fight over food. Not that we saw that.
There are around 100 fox's roaming a large area and some kept in cages with babies.
You can hold a baby for 300yen.
You can't touch the adults and are told not to feed them in the general area. There is a feeding platform to use.
Most are relaxed and you can get up close to take photos. Some will even sit next to you if they know you have food.
Getting there to the park by public transport would be expensive as you need to take a lengthy taxi ride and Japanese taxi's are fairly expensive.
We chose to hire a car in Sendai from "Times" rent a car.
At 7500yen plus 1800yen on toll roads it was worth it.
Tie it in with some other parks in the area and it's a good day.

8  Thank alistair_h055
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 6, 2015 via mobile

This place is sad, bordering on morally objectionable. The animals are confined, dirty, and underfed. We felt badly for the animals the entire time and left quickly to end the experience. The topper on the experience was definitely the 4000+ yen taxi fare in each direction. Avoid.

33  Thank zr2k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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