In The Culture Trip - The British Guest House That Inspired a Japanese Anime

Fosse Farmhouse, located amid the stunning vistas of The Cotswolds, looks like the archetypal British bed and breakfast (B&B): a simple two-bedroom building complete with a well-kept garden that dates all the way back to the 1700s. Every year, it enjoys a steady stream of visitors, many of whom leaving glowing comments in its guestbook. What makes this particular place so special is that unlike other such businesses nearby, it has been immortalised in a Japanese anime. The show’s fans visit all year round eager for the chance to see the spot that inspired their beloved program.

Said show is Kiniro + Mosaic (more popularly known as Kinmoza), a charming slice-of-life tale about a Japanese student who travels to the UK to take part in a homestay, picking up friends and learning myriad life lessons along the way. The show, currently one of the highest-rated anime in Japan, includes scenes where protagonist Shinobu experiences a visit to a British guesthouse that bears an uncanny resemblance to its real-life counterpart. Even her ride in a vintage 1954 Morris Minor is a direct nod to the same car that sits outside Fosse Farmhouse.

The B&B is owned and run by Caron Cooper, who picked it up decades ago and renovated it before turning it into a successful business. Caron, whose CV includes stints as an international DJ and a vintage stall owner on Portobello Road, said: “Many years ago by chance I just happened to meet a Japanese couple in London, Mr and Mrs Mitani, who were creating a British country-style B&B in Japan. I was really curious to understand why Japanese guests would be interested in staying there, so I invited them to visit Fosse Farmhouse to experience the real thing in the Cotswolds. The Mitani’s loved their stay with me, and on their return to Japan introduced all their guests staying in their B&B to my business.”

This led in 1990 to a popular ladies magazine in Japan called LEE spotlighting her guesthouse in a feature, which in turn brought her to the attention of Japanese anglophiles. One of the people who spotted the feature was Kinmoza artist Yui Hara, and the title began life as a manga in 2012 before being picked up as an animated adaptation. Animators visited Fosse Farmhouse along with all the other locations referenced in the manga, including Kemble Station, Cirencester, Bibury and Bathampton.