JAPAN Inspiration Gallery 11 Japan
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Blue Sky Guesthouse
The Kumano Kodo

Conveniently located in Hongu, one of the main spots along The Kumano Kodo path, this simple ‘minshuku’ (Japanese style B&B) is our favourite place to stay while visiting the region to walk this ancient pilgrimage route. The gracious owner, Naoya-san, speaks good English and goes to great lengths to create a homely and friendly atmosphere in typical ‘omotenashi’ (excellent Japanese hospitality) fashion, ensuring you always feel welcome here.

While Blue Sky Guesthouse may not be as luxurious as the other hotels that you'll most likely be indulging in throughout your tour of Japan, it delivers exactly what it says on the tin: it’s spotlessly clean and includes everything you need for a comfortable night or two.

The interiors are simple yet effective, staying true to traditional Japanese design with their woven tatami-mats and roll-out ‘futons’. Each room comes with a private, well-designed bathroom – a rare treat in a Japanese B&B – and an atmospheric forest view, which lends a strong sense of place.

This charming property’s central position in Hongu makes it an ideal base for exploring the Kii Peninsula, following in the footsteps of ‘samurai’ along the revered hiking route and soaking your aching muscles in the nearby ‘onsen’ (hot springs) within the UNESCO-protected town of Yunomine. The sacred Hongu Taisha shrine is easily reachable from here (approximately just a 15 minute walk away) and the scenic routes to the other two famous Shinto shrines (Hayatama Taisha and Nachi Taisha) make for a challenging but rewarding hike, or a picturesque drive through the mythical mountainous terrain.

We recommend adding in overnight stops at Mount Koya, the holy Buddhist alpine basin, or Osaka, the buzzy city famed for its neon-lit nightlife, before or after staying here as they lie only a few hours away by bullet train and would make for a well-rounded tour of this fascinating country.

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I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad.
George Bernard Shaw

Client Testimonials

So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Ampersand provided a bespoke and flexible holiday, tailored to my every whim. Their highly professional staff had only one goal which was to arrange an exceptional holiday and some unforgettable experiences in India. I have no hesitation in fully recommending them and they will be the first company I approach in the future - 10/10
- Anonymous, India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
I would recommend Ampersand without any hesitation!!! The best travel agent that I’ve ever had. Everything – from the individual care and attention in planning the trip, through to the efficiency of the agents on the ground in India – was handled brilliantly. An absolutely first-class service all round!
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India

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