At Kitakitsune Farm, also known as Hokkaido Fox Village, about 50 cuddly ezo red foxes live and play, and here you can see the animals throughout the year.
Along with brown bears, the Hokkaido fox is the island's most famous animal. Although these red foxes typically nest in forest holes, they live throughout Hokkaido and venture into villages and residential areas in search of food, so they're a familiar sight for locals. With big ears and fluffy coats, the adorable appearance of these animals is an attraction for many visitors to Hokkaido.
Ezo red foxes are found only in Hokkaido
The ezo red fox (kitakitsune) is a subspecies of the red fox widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, but it is smaller than those found outside Japan. While these foxes are often on display in zoos throughout the country, most facilities do not specialize in foxes.
Rules to observe when visiting Hokkaido Fox Village
Kitakitsune Fox Farm is located in Rubeshibe-cho, about 40 minutes by car from Kitami City. Kitakitsune Fox Farm opened in 1983 with the slogan, “Feel the cute foxes close at hand.” Even now, it looks the same as when it was opened, and a Superman-style fox greets visitors near the entrance.
The farm’s basic rules are:
1. No running
2. Don’t leave the footpath
3. Don’t feed the animals
4. Don’t leave anything behind or take anything
5. Keep the door closed, and
6. Be careful when using your mobile phone for photos. Be sure to follow them when you visit!
Observing lively red foxes
Upon entering the farm, you’ll see many foxes relaxing in a spacious field. Unlike most canines, foxes do not form packs, so you won't be able to see so many foxes at once in the wild. Because they’re nocturnal, foxes aren’t very active during the day, so if you want to see them climbing trees, running or playing together, try to visit after 15:00.
The farm is also home to a number of tanuki (Japanese raccoon dogs), but unlike the active and fearless foxes, tanuki are timid, so count yourself lucky if you spot one.
Each ezo fox has its own personality
At the Hokkaido fox village, foxes breed actively and babies are born each spring. All 50 have names, and the keepers can distinguish them by their fur coloration and patterns.
In Japan, foxes are considered angelic messengers, and stone statues decorate many shrines. There are also shrines at the Kitakitsune Fox Farm, but here you can see real foxes. Please visit this unique tourist spot!
Kitakitsune Fox Farm北きつね牧場
- Address 52-1, Rubeshibecho Hanaoka, Kitami Shi, Hokkaido
- Phone Number 0157-45-2249
Hours: 8:00 - 18:00 (April - October), 9:00 - 16:00 (November - March)
Entrance Fee: Adults and High school students 500 yen, junior high school students 400 yen, elementary school students 300 yen
Let's have fun in Rubeshibe-cho!
In addition to Kitakitsune Farm, Kita-shi Rubeshibe-cho has a collection of closely situated sights to visit, including a facility where you can enjoy woodcrafts, a restaurant that uses local ingredients, and an aquarium.
There is “Michi-no-Eki Onneyu Onsen” is near the Muka River, and just across from Kitakitsune Farm. At this roadside rest area you can be refreshed during a long drive, and visit restaurants and amusemment facilites. Karakuri Kingdom sells soft serve ice cream, light snacks, and local specialties featuring white beans, of which Kitami is Japan’s top producer. The beans are often used in Japanese sweets and are nutritious and said to be beautifying.
The world's largest Karakuri cuckoo clock tower!
Standing near the the rest area, the 20 meter-high “Kamurin” is the world's largest cuckoo clock. Name of the clock means “a forest town where the dreams unfold endlessly.” When the hour chimes, forest fairies with various musical instruments begins to dance and a large bird known as “Poppo-chan” with a wingspan of about 2 meters appears. The clock sounds every hour from 8:00 to 18:00 from mid-April to early November. Mozart’s “Toy Symphony,” “Let's Go to the Forest” (a Japanese version of a Polish folk song), and an “Original Song” play in order on subsequent hours.
"Kamurin no Yakata’s" three fun facilities
The Kamurin no Yakata building is composed of three facilities. The “Kamurin Shop” sells creative woodcrafts, furniture, and folk art, as well as ice cream and sweets. “Kamurin World” features wooden playground equipment that can be enjoyed not only by children but also by adults. Wooden palaces, sandboxes, fishing ponds and large spiral slides are fun for all ages! The “Craft Experience Studio” is an instructional woodworking room. Tools are provided and kits are sold at the Kamurin Shop, so even beginners can easily try their hand at woodcraft.
Michi-no-Eki Onneyu Onsen道の駅おんねゆ温泉
- Address 1-4, Rubeshibecho Matsuyama, Kitami Shi, Hokkaido
- Phone Number 0157-45-3373
Hours: 8:30 - 17:00 (April - October), 9:00 - 16:30 (November - March); closed April 8 - April 14 and December 26 - January 1
Entrance Fee: Free
A unique aquarium: "Kita no Daichi no Aquarium"
The Kita no Daichi no Aquarium specializes in freshwater fish, displayed in an outdoor aquarium that mimics a natural river. In winter, you can see the fish swimming under the frozen surface -- the world’s first aquarium of its kind. The “Takitsubo Aquarium,” another first in Japan, features fish in a waterfall environment. Oshorokoma (trout) found only in Hokkaido courageously swim against the current. The aquarium also breeds “ito” (Japanese huchen), the countries largest freshwater fish which exceeds 1 meter in length. Kita no Daichi no Aquarium is home to the largest number of ito in captivity, and also has hands-on areas where visitors can learn about the ecology of fish.
Kita no Daichi no Aquarium北の大地の水族館（山の水族館）
- Address 1-4, Rubeshibecho Matsuyama, Kitami Shi, Hokkaido
- Phone Number 0157-45-2223
Hours: 8:30 - 17:00 (Summer), 9:00 - 16:30 (Winter); closed April 8 - April 14 and December 26 - January 1
Entrance Fee: Adults 670 yen, junior high school students 440 yen, elementary school students 300 yen
Text by: minna no kotoba sha
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