Backpackers Hostel "J-Hoppers" & "Hana Hostel"

Enjoy international exchange!!

We J-Hoppers Hostels are always happy to welcome Japanese customers with open arms as well as foreigners customers. Please enjoy international exchange!!

Enjoy international exchange!!

We J-Hoppers Hostels are always happy to welcome Japanese customers with open arms as well as foreigners customers. Please enjoy international exchange!!

Enjoy international exchange!!

We J-Hoppers Hostels are always happy to welcome Japanese customers with open arms as well as foreigners customers. Please enjoy international exchange!!

Enjoy international exchange!!

We J-Hoppers Hostels are always happy to welcome Japanese customers with open arms as well as foreigners customers. Please enjoy international exchange!!

Enjoy international exchange!!

We J-Hoppers Hostels are always happy to welcome Japanese customers with open arms as well as foreigners customers. Please enjoy international exchange!!

Sumo!! dosukoi!!

I went to see Sumo for the first time recently!
I had never been since I went to this one!
Can you believe it?

It was held in Fukuoka Kokusai Center 
which is 20mins from Fukuoka Hana Hostel.
I finished work at 2PM and went there with my friends.

we got chair sheets which is 2100JPY!

There were like 3tornament and Sumo player(Likishi) 
are divided due to their strenth.
We watched the last tornament which is the strongest level one.
Sumo was cool and interesting but We were so hungry and sleepy so left there without finishing. lol

I just regret.
We should have brought Sake and food there.  
That would be the best!
「相撲 福岡」の画像検索結果

For any those who will go to see Sumo, bring sake and food!
This is my advice ;)

New Year is coming soon!!

Hello. This is Hiro from J-Hoppers Hiroshima.

It is the end of November already!We have only a month left this year!!
Are you ready for 2016??

In japan, New Year's Day is the most important holiday. So in late December is the busiest times for us as we have a lot of things to get ready for the coming year.

One of the most important thing to do is writing New Year's cards.

Have you ever heard about Nengajo?

Instead of sending Christmas cards, we send special postcards called nengajo to our friends and relatives. Nengajo should arrive on New Year's day so we must finish writing and post them by December 25th and the post office will stocks them in late December, and delivers them on January 1st all at once.
The most popular design of nengajo is illustrations of the animal for the coming year under the Chinese zodiac,which moves in a12 year cycle.
(rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, boar)
Next year is year of monkey!!!

Recently many people creating original cards with their personal computers.
But we can buy them at post offices or stores which already decorated.Or we can also decorate by ourselves using a lot of decorating items(colore markers, stamps, stickers etc.)

One thing that we have to be careful is.. Not send to people who have had a relative pass away during the year.
In this case, we send a simple post card to friends and relatives to let them know about it, so they won't send joyful New Year's card.

If you have a chance to go to the post office or stores where they sell New Year's cards during your stay in Japan,just go look them!You may know why nengajo is so important for Japanese people!!

Fall Foliage Hunting(Momojigari) at Aterra-keikoku

This autumn’s weather is perfect here.  One of our colleagues saw pretty pictures in FB about a place called Aterra-Keikoku (Aterra valley) in Nagano prefecture and thus we decided to visit it during our day off.  We also invited a guest who stayed 16 nights in J hopper Takayama to go together.  I was told that the journey takes 2.5 hours and due to the pretty autumn colors on the way, the time passed quickly.  We first went to a temple near to the entrance where the god of the nature lives.  We began by appreciating the god of nature there and started to walk along the valley.  The valley aims to remains as natural as it is and no phone signals could be received for all the trails along the way.  The air and river are extremely fresh and clean.  The changing color of the autumn leaves are amazing, we could not stop shouting out kerei (beautiful) along the hiking trails.  The red, yellow, green and blue colour mix together with the sound of the river and smell of the grass look like a lively-4D painting in front of us.  The water there is called `beauty water` which we can drink and bring home.  I drink some and brought 2 bottles home to make nice tea.  I love its purity and naturalness while I could not find it in my home country.  Do not forget to drink the beauty water if you visit there!

All you can eat Pizza, Pasta and Salad!!!!!!!

I went to all you can eat Pizza restaurant at Canal city!!
It is called Shakey's and located in East building 2nd floor.
They are really good!!!!!!  You should go there if you are starving!! lol

Opening hours for all you can eat
Lunch time week days 11am-3pm, weekends and public holidays 11am-4pm
Dinner time 5pm-10pm

All you can eat lunch
week days 1180yen
weekends and public holidays 1540yen

All you can eat dinner
everyday 1650yen




Recommended souvenir of Osaka : ) vol.1

Hello !!
I'm Haru from Osaka Hana Hostel : )

If you come to Osaka, what would you like to buy as a souvenir??

Must buy is a steamed meat bun called ”Butaman” at 551 Horai and a cheese cake at Rikuro-ojisan.

Or some snacks flavored with Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki.

Nowadays they are very famous as souvenirs of Osaka!!
But I would like to introduce another good products to you : )

Kakitane kitchen

《Price》 1Box : 368yen / 9boxes sampler : 3,308yen
《Where》 Osaka Takashimaya B1F, UmedaHanshin B1F etc...
《URL》 only)

Japanese people love Kakinotane snack.
Kakinotane is one of the famous snacks of Japan, it is a spicy rice cracker which looks like persimmon seeds.

You can buy normal Kakinotane at the supermarket and the price is cheap!!
But Kakitane kitchen sells the high-grade kakinotane to you!!
Taste is more luxury than normal one and it has a lot of flavors.

Would you like to eat???
Kakinotane go with beer so please try it !!

Thank you for reading !!

To be continued...

Walking from Kyoto Station to Gion / Higashiyama area

 Hiya, this is Yoshi from Q-beh.
Recently, I went for a walk from JR Kyoto Station to Gion area on a holiday!!
It took about 50 minutes to get to Q-beh on foot indeed...

 For my lunch, I  had Okonomiyaki with some pints of beer in Fugetsu in Yodobashi-Camera near JR Kyoto Station.

Especially on the 6th floor in Yodobashi-Camera, you will find many restaurants including Japanese BBQ (yakiniku), Ramen, Italian, and Chinese!!

 After that, I went along Shichijo street from Karasuma-Shichijo near Kyoto Hana Hostel, going straight along Kawaramachi-Street, and getting to Gojo-Kawaramachi!
Along Gojo street, some of you may know  "YUMEYAKATA" where you can dress up in beautiful yukata : ) (I sometimes visit there only for my hairdo.)

 Then, going along Shomen street from Gojo, I passed in front of the old headquarter of Nintendo, which used to produce "hanafuda"(Japanese card games), near Shomen bridge.
I felt a wee bit far away from the bridge to Gion, but thanks to delicious okonomiyaki and Japanese beer, I was still energetic!!

 Finally, I managed to arrive in Gion area!!
First of all, I visited Maeda Coffee to have an iced  coffee as I felt thirsty....

 Maeda Coffee is really popular among our guests in Q-beh as it opens from 7am to 6pm.
So, it is good for a beakfast before visiting Kodaiji, Kenninji, and Kiyomizudera Temple.
I would like to try a greentea perfait there next time :)

 Then, I visited Entokuin to see beautiful Japanese gardens with illuminations.
Some leaves were getting coloured into yellow and red.

While sitting on the veranda called ”engawa,” by the north garden, I had nothing to consider my daily life with a serene mind, feeling relaxed.

 After passing through ”Ishibekoji” street, I came back to Q-beh!

It was good exercise tho. I was fascinated by this traditional area near Q-beh.
Why don't you go exploring from Q-beh?

Ramen ! Ramen !! and one more Ramen !!!

Hi there all ! It's Madi from Q-beh :)

Today I went out with my friends to discover "Ichijo", north area of Kyoto city.
I have been telling by other people this area is very famous for ramen noodles so been wishing to try out sometime and finally my this small wish came true !

We were willing to try out at least 5 ramen noodles out of millions (well I don't really know exactly how many ramen noodles restaurants exist in this area.) but we are all female so couldn't make it so at the end of day, we tried out 3 of them. Well this quite good number for female ;)

Anyway, first one was "Bishiya", famous by pork broth with soy sauce flavour. I actually am from Fukuoka where is famous prefecture for ramen noodles with pork broth and we Fukuoka people all believe our ramen is best in Japan ! so this one is challenging me :P And the result was... pretty good ! The pork broth has good and strong enough flavour, good presntaion :) but noodles were just OK for me. This may be just because I got used to eat thin ramen noodles in my hometown but still it was too thick and I could taste too much flour... So the score for this restaurant is 5 out of 10 :)

Next one is "Gokkei", famous by super spicy ramen. I am crazy about any spicy foods so was so excited for this and expected a lot ! We waited for more than few hours and finally the moment came !!! But oh dear... oh dear... It was bad... just bad :( The presentation was great and smelled spicy but broth was like white stew, taste was just OK, wasn't even spicy. So disappointed that I actually killed my time and waited for a long time :(  So the score for this restaurant is 2 out of 10 :(

 The last one is "Yuhi no Kirameki", famous by Taiwan style "no soup" ramen. We all wondered what exactly "Taiwan style" means cause one of my Taiwan friend told that there is no such a thing in Taiwan... So we all became interested in then decided to try out it. And it was average. No taste which remind me of Taiwan... of course :P The presentation was really nice and taste was good enough as well :) So the score is 4 out of 10 :)

At the end of the day, it was good time to have done this and I would love to try other ramen restaurants as well next time ! But at the same time, I thought that I really love my home town's ramen noodles are always best lol

Thank you very much for reading whoever spent your precious time here !

Snow prediction 2015

Your correspondent from Takayama is actually a weather-forecast freak. Back in the days when he was living in Hong Kong, whenever a typhoon was approaching, he would almost certainly check its latest position and predicted route every hour, and read heated discussions on weather forums about whether the observatory had hoisted a proper typhoon warning signal at a proper time (without participating). Since dear typhoons almost never grace Takayama with their presence, he thus diverted most of his energy and enthusiasm to predicting first snow. With the autumn colors fading away soon, the time has come again to hold this game among our staff. First snow normally falls around mid November in Takayama downtown area, but I’ve a feeling that this year it will fall a bit later than usual, not least the famous snow-predicting gingko tree at Kokubunji temple hasn’t yet turned completely yellow.

Humidity also matters, but in general:

3 degree Celsius: rain
2 degree Celsius: sleet
1 degree Celsius: wet snow
0 degree Celsius: snow that will stay on the ground

There was some confusion last year when my colleague and I looked out the window one day, and saw snow-like particles falling from the sky. We thus rushed out in excitement, thinking first snow at last fell, but we were later told that it was hail not snow. How embarrassing!

What is your prediction (no prize for you though)?

Autumn leaves in Okuhida onsen

The happiest thing of working in Takayama is that we can visit the nature during our day offs.  In October, I have visited different places in Gifu and Nagano prefecture to chase the autumn colours. Okuhida onsen is a popular day trip option from Takayama where is prefect for hiking and enjoying the onsen.   We went to different waterfalls and hiked for 2 hours.  It is so amazing to hike between the woods while seeing the wind blowing away the autumn leaves.  Together with the smell of the grass and the sound of the river, I totally indulge in the autumn atmosphere.  The scenery surrounded me looks similar to a colourful painting!  The night of autumn comes around 5:00 pm, we enjoyed the onsen foot spa while waiting for the light up of autumn leaves.  There is also a mixed onsen called Shinhotaka no yu along the river.  It is an onsen where guests can wear swimming suit.  If you are interested in seeing the autumn leaves light up as well as enjoy the onsen at the same time, I recommend you to try Shinhotaka no yu.

Halloween party at Kyoto Hana Hostel

We had a Halloween party here in Kyoto Hana Hostel .

Can you recognize who we are ??

A potato salad with some spiders !!

Pumpkin Pasta !!

Homemade pumpkin cookies :)

A stranger behind me

We watched a horror movie with some guests .
Happy Halloween !!

Sparring match

I have been boxing for 1 year.
Boxing is fun but very tough sport.

I had a sparring match first time!
Amateur match is 3 minutes 3 round.
 It may seem easy but very hard even 1 round.

I go to Boxing gym called Ryu's style. The owner used to win Japanese super-featherweight title
If you play boxing or are interested in,let's go to the gym while you are in Takayama.

Pottery Workshop Touan (陶葊)

This is Yulia and one more post about ceramics!
Last week I went to a small excursion to Pottery Workshop Touan (陶葊). It is located close to Tofuku-ji Temple and exists already for several generations. So I was lucky to see very traditional and high-level pottery factory. First of all, I was surprised with very spacious hall where guests are served tea (so you can actually try Touan tea cups at work). Master and his wife made tea for us and treated us chestnut desert (very typical for this part of the year). 
Finally, we could see factory itself! On the first floor masters were creating plates, cups, teapots and many other things. After clay got dry, they were improving the shape and working with bottom of the products. As I am also taking pottery classes recently, to see how real masters do such an exquisite workmanship so fast and confident was a miracle for me. On the second floor already completed products got painted. 4 women were diligently painting floral patterns on cups and vases. When I asked master, how long you should study to be able to make these paintings, he answered that it was a matter of talent not time…

By the way, for people who want to check, if they have talent or not, Touan makes special experience class. With help of master you can paint your own cup!
 I saw such a big variety of patterns: flowers, autumn leaves, landscapes and some abstract paintings as well. It is a great feeling when you can touch something so beautiful that has a long history…

Touan has several shops around Kyoto. But the biggest one is in Nishiki food market. I visited there too. I will go back to Russia with a tea set (5 cups and 5 plates), which will keep me remember how exquisite and beautiful Japan and Japanese art and craft is.

This set I am going to buy soon J
web-page :

Mount Yake

We went to Mt, Yake to see beautiful autumn coloers with our night stuff Kuro.

Mt, Yake is active volcano and not too hard to climb that's why even if it's beginner, you can go one day trip from Kamikochi.

Fortunately it was snow around the peak last night,  we could see beautiful autumn leaves and peak coverd with snow.

We also could see wild monkey in the mountain.

They are used to people so never afraid us, really cute!!!

It will be being closed in Kamokochi during winter season  but you can go Mt, Yake even in winter.

Winter mountain equipment is necessary and professional skill is required.

Actually I've never been there but I will definitely try it someday near future!!!


My favorite time

One and a half year passed since I moved to Kyoto City.
I am from the northern part of Kyoto Prefecture so I came to Kyoto City once every 2 months for shopping or just strolling but visiting and living in the city is different.
I like my life in Kyoto City.

If I am asked what is my favorite thing in Kyoto, I would say I like spending time on Kamo River.
We have no beach to chill out but we have the river and you will see many people enjoying their time there.

I often walk along the river between my house and Sanjo street, about 40min. for one way.
Sometime I bring sandwiches and have lunch watching some ducks and sometimes I grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks which is right next to Sanjo bridge and read a book listening the sound of the river.

Every time I walk along the river, I find something small happiness. (for me :P)
A nutria (coypu) grooming under the bridge, old Japanese couple holding their hands (which is really rare), sun going down behind the Kyoto tower, and the others...

It is good to visit lots of famous tourist spots but I recommend just relaxing beside Kamo river and you may find something memorable.


Winter is coming soon!!!!

Hi.It is Ena from Hiroshima Hana Hostel.
It is getting colder and colder in Japan.
Few days ago, my mum already put a ''Kotatsu ''in the living room.
Kotatsu is the one of the traditional heating system.
An electric heater is attached to the table and we put futon on it.
Sitting around Kotatsu with my family or friends and chatting together  is one of the my favorite things in winter. I also like to eat a mochi ice cream 雪見大福 sitting in it :) Strange as it may sound, mochi ice cream and Kotatsu is the best combination for me!

Since it is soooooo comfortable, it makes us feel sleepy.

" You had better NOT sleep in a Kotatsu not to catch a cold!"

It was often sad by my mum .....
I knew I have should slept on the bed because it heats up only my legs and not whole my body....
However , I could not help sleeping ...

If you have any chance to see Kotatsu anywhere in Japan, please experience the Japanese seasonal tradition of winter:)

British Fair

This is Nao from Kyoto Hana! 

British Fair was held at Hankyu Umeda Department few weeks ago.
I visit the fair every year. 
This time, I could have a chance to join a seminar of a famous tea company. 
The reservation was needed in advance. 
But it became full in 10minutes when it started! 
So I was very excited to join it! 

Ringtons is famous for the unique way of selling their products. 
They used to deliver the products by a horse cart to the costumers' home. 
People couldn't buy the tea in stores. 

Now, horse cart became car.
But they still don't allow to sell their products in stores.
I was amazed with this idea and how they think about the customers. 
Even though Ringtons can be known more widely if they sell in stores, it seemed costumers are more important. 

At the seminar, Simon san and Sue san(the CEO and his wife) gave us the lecture- how to make perfect Ringtons' tea. 

I definitely had a lovely time. 
They were very friendly!!! 
Now, I enjoy Ringtons tea at home and think someday I want to visit UK again:)