Great accommodation close to the great outdoors
Stay in the heart of some of Japan's most beautiful regions and be perfectly located for exploring the surrounding area.Whether you are looking for some easy walking in picturesque surroundings or would prefer a multi-day mountain hike, Japan has the destinations to suit and great accommodation. We can only show you a handful here but we know the best places across the whole of Japan and your travel consultant will be pleased to make recommendations.
Located bang in the centre of Magome, the Tajimaya Minshuku could not be better located for hikers tackling the old Nakasendo Way. The inn's doors open directly onto the hiking path, so you won't have any trouble finding your way! We recommend a relaxing soak in the onsen hot spring bath to rest aching muscles, and be sure to stick around after dinner to enjoy traditional song and dance.
The village of Magome is located on an ancient feudal highway, the Nakasendo, which once linked Tokyo with Kyoto. Today, people still head to the region to tread in the footsteps of samurai as they wander along forested avenues and through beautifully preserved traditional villages. Magome is one of the most attractive former post towns that line the route, and the residents of the village have worked together to ensure the preservation of its traditional atmosphere.
The old wooden building of the Tajimaya Minshuku is well in keeping with this, featuring a traditional irori fireplace and Japanese-style guestrooms, complete with tatami mats and shoji paper screens. Each stay includes breakfast and dinner, both prepared using local ingredients, and dinner is often succeeded by a performance of traditional entertainment.
Ku Nel Asob
Iya Valley, Budget
The Ku Nel Asob is a superb budget accommodation option. Luxurious it is not, but it is homely, welcoming and down-to-earth – in short, everything you want on an active holiday – and we guarantee that you'll leave with fond memories of your experience here. The wonderful Nori-san even drives his guests to the local hot spring for a relaxing soak after a long day of hiking, rafting, canoeing and exploration.
What the Ku Nel Asob lacks in slick service and luxury, it more than makes up for in character and charm – qualities that have made it a firm favourite in our book over the years. In fact, we've never heard review that was anything less than glowing.
An “eco guesthouse” housed in a 90-year-old building, guests at the Ku Nel Asob find themselves surrounded by the stunning mountain scenery of Shikoku. This is one of the most remote and rural parts of Japan – and it really does feel like it.
Facilities are basic, but this only serves to heighten the authenticity of the experience. The shared toilet facilities are located in the main building, so if you are lodging in the small separate building you will need to walk across to use them. There is no bathhouse at the inn, but guests are invited to use the onsen in the village free of charge – the guesthouse owner, Nori-san, will drive you there.
Macrobiotic vegetarian meals are included in every stay, and are both wholesome and delicious! Nori-san speaks excellent English and will do everything he can to provide information about the local area and make your stay as comfortable as possible.
Shiki no Yado Onoaida
This Japanese-style inn many not be anything fancy, but it's definitely one of our favourite places to stay in Japan. With stunning views, a hospitable atmosphere, an excellent in-house guide and hiking trails that start on your doorstep, there is no better place to stay for an active holiday on Yakushima.
The Shiki no Yado Onoaida is not a luxurious or exclusive property – it is not even the most expensive on Yakushima – and yet it is consistently adored by guests, as evidenced by its 100% positive Tripadvisor rating.
The inn is run by a local couple with two young children, and has an informal, family atmosphere that immediately endears it to visitors. The hosts, Kentaro and Chan, who both speak excellent English, are eager to answer any questions and help you out in any way they can – including arranging activities, making reservations or helping you rent a car.
The inn serves organic food sourced from its own garden and has a lovely terrace area from which to enjoy the hills and mountains of this wild island. Hiking trails stretch out from the front door, and some of the rooms have outdoor hot spring baths in which you can soak the evening away while enjoying the spectacular views.
Blue Sky Guesthouse
The Blue Sky Guest house offers simple Japanese-style accommodation with a very warm welcome. The guesthouse's owner is very widely travelled and always keen to help out hikers in any way he can. There is also a common area, café and kitchen in case you'd like to swap tips with other hikers in the area, and a laundry room – which may be useful after a few days of hiking!
Located just a short walk from Hongu Taisha Shrine, one of the three major shrines in the Kumano area, this is the ideal place to be based for exploring the surrounding pilgrimage routes.
The wooden building looks out over a garden with a stream, and is surrounded by woodland. There are only four guest rooms, all of which are simple tatami-mat rooms with en suite bathrooms. Breakfast is served each morning in the communal dining room and there is also a shared kitchen which guests are welcome to use should they want to prepare their own lunch or dinners. There are plenty of restaurants nearby if you prefer to eat out.
In terms of décor, location and facilities this is already a great option for anyone wanting to explore the Kumano region. However, what makes this place truly special is the extremely helpful and friendly owner who speaks English and is more than happy to make sightseeing and restaurant recommendations and help with anything you need. There is free WiFi throughout the accommodation and also laundry facilities.
This Japanese-style hotel has lovely views of the surrounding mountains from the traditional rooms.
The hotel has a classic Japanese hot spring bathhouse and is located right next to the famous 'Kappa' bridge.
Cycle Hotel ONOMICHI U2
The aptly named Hotel Cycle is part of ONOMICHI U2, a bike-friendly enclave which opened in March 2014 to serve the cycling community at the mouth of the Shimanami Kaido cycle route. Purpose-built for cyclists, you'll find your every need catered for – from bike repairs to directions, advice and recommendations.
This is the first hotel in Japan where you can check in while sitting on your bicycle. We're not entirely sure why you'd want to do that, but it is handy that each guest room has racks on the wall to store your bikes – plus plenty of communal repair space for bike maintenance. Staff will even lend you the tools for this and can provide advice.
The ONOMICHI U2 project took over a former maritime warehouse on the waterfront to create a stylish 2,000-square-metre complex that contains a bike hire and repair shop, restaurant, bar, bakery and boutique shop – as well as the hotel itself, with its 28 guest rooms.
Rooms are Western-style, with twin beds from the Simmons bed company and en suite bathrooms. You could call the interior design “warehouse chic”; guestrooms face into the building's central atrium and are minimalist but stylish, with dark wood, art prints, angular bathroom fittings and high-tech lighting. The rooms are all non-smoking, have Wi-Fi and a TV. A buffet breakfast is included in your stay.
Fuji Hakone Guest House
The Fuji Hakone Guest House is a simple Japanese-style, family-run accommodation. All the staff speak good English and can provide you with the latest information about climbing Fuji – including directions, climbing advice and weather reports. The guest house is also conveniently located on the right side of Hakone for embarking on a Fuji climb, and has a common area where you can swap tips with other guests.
Established in 1984, the guesthouse is an excellent budget accommodation located in the Hakone area - the perfect base for your exploration of the beautiful national park.
Rooms are simple but comfortable, and designed in traditional Japanese style, with shoji paper screens and futon mattresses laid out on tatami-mat floors. There is also a convivial lounge area where a breakfast of fresh fruit, bread rolls and boiled eggs is served every morning.
The guesthouse's prime features are its indoor and outdoor onsen baths, fed by natural volcanic hot spring water. Bathing facilities at the guesthouse are shared, (as is the norm in Japanese-style inns), but if you feel uncomfortable stripping off in front of your fellow guests you can book out the baths for private use.
A 50-minute bus ride will take you directly from Odawara Station to Senkyoro-mae bus stop, just one minute's walk from the guesthouse. Buses from this stop also service the rest of the Hakone area and are easy to use - the staff will be able to tell you which ones to catch. Free Wi-Fi is available.