JAPAN Inspiration Gallery 11 Japan
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Sasayuri-Ann
Kyoto

Located just outside the ancient capital city of Nara, within a rural idyll of terraced rice fields, Sasayuri-Ann is a welcoming retreat in which to relax and rejuvenate away from the buzz of Japan’s bustling cities.

Pristinely curated and kept by its proud owner, Mr Matsubayashi san, this serene hideaway blends harmoniously into its natural surroundings, and aims to whisk its guests back to the unspoiled peace of the Edo-period (1603 – 1868). Not only is a stay here relaxing, but it is also an immersive cultural experience: we recommend you try your hand at the quintessential Japanese arts on offer here, from ‘ikebana’ (flower arranging) and traditional tea ceremonies to ‘shugendo’ (deep spiritual meditation).

Traditional Japanese practices are weaved into other aspects of the property too, most notably within its classical architecture. This special hotel consists of just one private rice villa, which has recently been sensitively renovated in order to accommodate up to ten guests in a comfortable setting, while also maintaining its beautiful ancient design. The vast building is complete with a masterpiece of a thatched ‘kaya’ roof, made from neatly arranged pine beams and bamboo shoots around a 300-year-old central pillar. A real sense of space is achieved by this soaring structure, as well as the floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that give way to the wooden verandas outside. From these, sweeping panoramic views over the farmland stretch as far as the eye can see to the horizon, where the scenic Mount Muro and Mount Takami majestically stand. Cuisine at Sasayuri-Ann is also reminiscent of a bygone era, as all the fresh food is locally-sourced from the fertile plains directly outside and methodically cooked on the centuries-old ‘iori’ (open-hearth fireplace).

If you are after a serene stay with a nostalgic feel, then this is the place for you - especially if you are particularly inspired by the feudal history and world heritage sites of nearby Kyoto (a 90 minute drive away), and want to get a taste of the great respect that the Japanese place on Mother Nature - for Sasayuri-Ann gets its name from Japan’s native lily.

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The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.
Rudyard Kipling

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- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
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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!
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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!
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