The fox plays a role in Japanese culture that's unusually rich and complicated. Beliefs that developed when people lived much closer to nature persist in stories, festivals, and language. Even in these rational times, the fox has a magical aura that still lingers.
The fox is associated with Inari as a symbol, a messenger, a servant, or maybe more. Inari is the Japanese god of foxes, of fertility, rice, tea and sake, of agriculture and industry, of general prosperity and worldly success, and one of the principal gods of Shinto.
A spirit of an old abandoned shrine! Very cool.