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!!

Japanese Tea Stand

Hi there.
I have accidentally found this tea stand recently.
I don't know any other tea stand even in Kyoto where the tea ceremony was born.
The stand opened last December and now they are preparing English menu.
They have many kinds of tea, you can customize and take away like a coffee stand.

Green smoothie is very popular in recent years but I got green TEA smoothie this time!
The smoothie contains tea leaves, pineapple, honey and coconut water.
That sounds weird combination though it tastes really good.
You tastes the sweetness first (not too sweet) and then the tea flavor come after.
It is very refreshing and nice to have it in this season.

tea channel TERAMACHI
Address 266-2, Shikibu-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8061

Along "Takoyakushi" street, between "Teramachi" street and "Gokomachi" street

Opening hours Wed. to Sun.  10am - 8pm

Mon.  12pm - 8pm

Tue.  Closed

Oktoberfest in Osaka!

We have Oktoberfest at Umeda Skybuikding now!
It's untill the 30tth of August (Sun)
Weekday/ 5PM to 10PM
Weekend/11AM to 10PM

I orderd cassis beer, was pretty good:)

Enjoy rest of summer!


Hi! It is Ena from Hiroshima Hana Hostel.
Summer is almost over here in Hiroshima.
However, it is still hot ….
I still need to put sun cream when I go out.
And one more! I need ice cream when it is hot day.
Have you ever tried ice cream in Japan?
Please let me introduce about my favorite ice cream!

< Aisu-no-mi (アイスの実) >
It is a small sherbet ball. Each ball looks like a little berry.
Aisu-no-mi have different color and flavors.
(Ex. Peaches, Grapes, Kiwis, Bananas… etc)
Since it is bite-size, it is easy to eat.
You can find it at convenience stores and supermarkets.

<Gatsun-to-mikan (ガツンとみかん)>
You probably will be surprised when you open the packaging bag.
It contains REAL mikan (mandarin) !
Usually I do not like big ice creams because I get headache from the ice…. 
However, this one is an exception for me.I can eat the whole of this easily!
If you have this once, you will be a fan of this ice cream.

                Not only these but also chocolate or vanilla ice cream you can get at a cheap price!

Why don’t you try Japanese ice cream once?

Attack on Titan

Do you know Attack on Titan?
It's title of  manga comics and now is really big in Japan and also all over the world.
I don't really read manga but after I started to read it, I couldn't stop reading and couldn't sleep lol

It's really big in Japan.
Universal Studio Japan had a the attraction for it.
The features a full-size, 15-meter (about 49-foot) Eren Titan — the first of its kind in the world, according to the theme park — as well as a 14-meter (46-foot) female Titan. Visitor can witness the Titans locked in fierce combat from the perspective of Survey Corps members.
(Sorry, now it's finished.)

And now even Attack on Titan film is out!

They became even face pack!!!

Japan is really crazy about it :D

Tenkawa Village in Nara

I went to village of Tenkawa known as a hidden historic spot in Nara.
The village is registered as a World Heritage!
Tenkawa Village is particularly known for water, which says a lot, considering the abundance of water in Japan.
The area contains a cluster of Dorogawa springs known as "gorogoro water," which literally means "rumbling water."

I and my friend walked through the forest about 11km head to Dorogawa hot spring.
It was not a easy way to get there but so beautiful spots are all around!!

The area has become popular among young people as spot for spiritual moorings.


be careful of bears

This year is crazy . I have kept hearing that bears appeared in  Takayama.

So some parks in Takayama were closed due to bears.

I  saw a bear outside of Takayama when I was driving   last month.

The bear is small kid and I was in my car so I did not get scared.

I would have got scared if I saw him on foot.

One reason is  that they do not have enough foods in mountains so they come to town to eat rubbish.

As you might know if you go to Japanese mountains ,please take a bell with you to keep away from bears.

I saw this bear.


Hi this is Mami;)
I went to the Chikugogawa fireworks festival in Kurume in Fukuoka prefecture!!
They were very beautiful!!!!!!!!
I heard that about 450,000 people were there!!!!!

If you visit here in Fukuoka next month, you should go to Kashii fireworks on September 5th in Kashii!!!!!!

My Kyoto

Today is exactly one year since I moved to Kyoto and started working at J-Hoppers.
To be honest I didn’t want to live in Kyoto that time. For me it was just a big tourist place, which is incredibly hot in summer. Which is, actually, true.
But after one year spent here I can say that I am lucky. I was lucky to enjoy Japanese momiji in a small rock garden not far from Tofukuji, Komyoin. On my own, with no people around. Just red maple leaves, rocks and sounds of stream. Discovering Kyoto by bike was even more exciting. Somehow this city preserved purity and beauty of nature in particular its northern part around Kurama and Kibune.
Spring in Kyoto gave me a charming evening walk along Shirakawa in cherry blossom. I was amazed by just married couples, which were making their wedding photo shoots in tuxedo and white dresses under sakura trees.

Humid and hot Kyoto summer I spent in Nanzenji with its green spacious park and amazing huge gates and sometimes drinking coffee at Kamo riverside near Shijo bridge with couples sitting every 3-5 meters along the river.
My winter in Kyoto was incredibly cold. Even oden and cocoa could not help. By the beginning of January I was stressed and tired, but Kyoto gave me another gift. When I woke up on 1 January and look through my window outside, the entire city was white. Snow covered streets and roofs of old temples. And it was so magical! In my memories Silver pavilion will always be covered with snow!

This city gave me so many memories. Some of them are very intimate like in Shimogamo shrine, which I hope will be special for me and one more person I love. Some of them are sad, like starbucks not far from home where I was hiding from winter cold with a book. Some of them are awkward, those I am not going to disclose now.

Kyoto is a great place. Every time I come back from somewhere and walk from Kyoto station through Honganji temples a feel this amazing smell of wood and Buddhist candles. And it makes me feel home.

Lantern festival

Hello! This is Tomomi from Hiroshima Hana.

As you know, this year is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

On August 6th, I went to the peace park to join the lantern festival in the evening. It’s called lantern festival because people let lanterns float in the river to remember the victims of the bombings. It was the first time for me to go there.

We arrived around 8pm, but there were SO many people all around the Motoyasu river. And there was a LONG line of people waiting to buy the lantern.....So I gave up to buy one and put it in the water, but at least I could see the beautiful lanterns floating down the river and the candles around the A-bomb dome.

Now the remaining victims of the bomb are well over 70 years old. Therefore young people should not forget the history and continue to pray for peace. Even I am not a fan of big crowds, I was glad that so many people from so many different countries visited the anniversary festivities.

We have bookmarks with messages of peace which are written by schoolchildren from Hiroshima at the reception.
When you stay at Hana, please reply to them!:)

Thoughts about 70th Anniversary: Nuclear Bomb

 Hello from Hiroshima Hana Hostel, It's Kana here.
The temperature at the day time  is CRAZY these days. I almost got heat stroke  while I am working. All of sudden, i felt sick and couldn't stand still...
Please drink a lot of water while you are out in the day time to avoid getting heat stroke..Don't underestimate heat stroke...

August 6th is the most important day in Hiroshima.
2015 August 6 is 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima.
I was born, and grown up in Hiroshima,my grand parents are survivor of atomic bomb. Every year of this day makes me think a lot. 
Everybody has different aspect of opinion about world war second so I am not gonna talk about it much.
What I want to share with everyone is...

We got a call from lady on the other day. She said

" I made a lot of small bag from my Kimono for the people who will be coming on Aug 6th to pray for peace with us. Could you give them for free?"

She brought 60 of them with handwriting letter for all those bags. 

She lives in Osaki Kamijima(大崎上島), it's a small Island near Hiroshima, but it takes at least few hours to get Hiroshima from where she lives.
I was so impressed with her and couldn't thank her more. All the guest who came back to the hostel after peace park them seemed little depressed but when received this beautiful hand made bag, the bag made their face back to smile.

Thanks again to her and people came to Hiroshima to pray for peace.

My first Seishun 18 Trip 第一次的青春18之旅

Before coming to Japan, I had searched numerous information regarding budget travel in Japan.  Seishun 18 Tickets青春18’ always comes up on the web. JR train company offers a budget train ticket set twice a year during summer and winter which everyone (regardless of the age) can buy 5 train tickets to travel unlimitedly on the normal and rapid trains for only 11,850 yen.

My colleagues who are passionate about traveling went traveling by 18 tickets last year both in summer and winter.  I was amazed with the ideas of visiting a new place far away by train and at the same time enjoying the beautiful scenery while enjoy music or train bento.  Then, chance comes last month.  I went on my first Seishun 18 trip!!!

By searching the recommended route online, I chose to travel like this:
Kyoto(Gion Matsuri)->Tottori Sand Dunes->Kinosaki Onsen -> Kyoto
Gion matsuri is the three of major festivals in Kyoto.  Thanks to my lovely colleague Saorin, I was dressed in yukata(summer dress in Japan) to enjoy my first day in Kyoto.  

My second day in Tottori is a super hot day.  I went up to the sand dunes under the sun and the temperature is around 34 degrees.  The sand dunes look like a real desert to me. 
I love hotspring in Japan and Kinosaki onsen is one the onsen that I am longing for visiting in Japan.  While heading to Kyoto, I stopped there for 3 hours to enjoy the onsen and the local cuisine.  The quality of the onsen is as good as I expected and the sushi rice with zuwai crab is so yummy !!! I have decided to visit Kinosaki onsen again in winter to try the famous matsuba crab.

It is a wonderful journey to travel by train and I indulge in the stunning scenery especially the train ride along the Japan Sea.  After the trip, I am totally recharged for my work again.  How about saving more money again and prepare for my next journey? :P

Bestest Japanese sweets cafe ever!

We have a cleaning staff who is also a Japanese confectionery maker.
(what  varied staffs we have!!)

And he recommended me one Japanese sweets cafe called "Housen"(宝泉)
They are specialized in making sweet beans know as Anko (餡子), and cafe menus are mostly ones with it and mattcha of course for drink menu:)

It was WAY TOO DELICIOUS, and we were even touched and almost crying.
The atmosphere is also sophisticated an so peaceful, traditional Japanese style with garden view.

It is a little bit far from all the common sightseeing spots,but it's totally worth it,
and it's absolutely recommended especially for who love sweets and like to stay a little bit quite after the hectic sightseeing time.

Lovely gift from a guest

Hi, this is Nao from Kyoto Hana Hostel!

I received a very lovely gift from a guest in Australia last month.

I met the guest when I used to work as a Q-beh's staff.

The paper became a girl with Q-beh's costume:)
You can see her at Kyoto Hana's living room!
I received Q-beh boy as well.
He is in Q-beh!!

This yukata girl is for myself.

I was so happy to receive the gift.
I really love my job:)

Summer feature

This is Shige from J-saty.

Kyoto is getting hot, humid and hot day by day.
It is danger to go around in the daytime.
But summer has many things to go outside.
We can not stay in the house everyday.

What do you imagine for Japanese summer ?
 Fire works? Swimming in sea? BBQ? Summer festival?
 I can say so many things about summer.
But today I would like to recommend ”Koushien"

Koushien is normally baseball stadium name.
But in summer, this name has a different meaning.
In Summer time, there becomes the high school baseball of the special place.

Many exciting games and impress scenes  are happened there.

Every summer, I watch many games on TV, also I go to Koshien, if have time.
It is really really good.
Please check it if you have time.
It start from 6th of August.

And you can get in there free(out field seat).
I recommend that watch the game at Koshien and drink beer under the summer sunshine.


New sun protection gear!!

Hi there!This is Chika from J-Hoppers Hiroshima.

The other day,I read an article about "Face-kini" fashion in China.
Have you heard of or seen it before??

Chinese woman put on a mask on beaches!
Wow,,,,I don't want to get suntan ,But I haven't come up with this idea.

The mask,it seems like appeared in 2004,in response to demands
for full protection from the sun and jellyfish.

It looks a bit scared and scared children actually.So they have big range and lots of colorful face paint designs.

When you want to go swimming but maintain your white skin,
Why don't you put on this mask this summer??

I'm just worried one thing...
If I forget to put a suncream around my eyes and mouth,I would get a suntan around my eyes like panda bear?mmm...That's not good...

Before I get and use the mask,I should try to put on sun cream regularly :-)

                                               Have a nice summer!!!

Toffee and Coffee

I found yummy toffee and great coffee!
BALYET is a shop for toffee and coffee.

Varieties of chocolate on a crispy caramel candy.
There are 6 flavors and all perfectly matched with coffee!

They also provide coffee which is roasted and blended by great roasters from Kansai area
They selected special blended coffee just for BALYET.

Try both toffee and coffee!


Going for a walk in Uji City

 This is Yoshi from Gion Ryokan Q-beh!!
 I recently visited Uji city to go for a walk on my day off.
Uji city is famous for green tea, where we can find many tea shops, restaurants, and goods related to green tea!!

Only green tea available! No coke....No Dr Pepper... No 7up...
 There were many people in a queue in front of Nakamura-Tokichi restaurant as I wanted to have green-tea sweets there...but I just abondaned lining up...
So, I had a grean-tea soft serve ice cream on the approach to Byodoin Temple.

 Near Uji river, there is a parking area both for cars and motorbikes.
Then, it is just 2 minutes walking to get to the riverside and Byodoin Temple from there!

 Byodoin Temple was built in the 11th century.
The famous picture of the temple can be found on the surface of 10yen coin.
In the temple, national treasures are enshrined, including Buddhist statues such as "Amida Nyorai Seated Statue" and "Dancing Statues."
I think it is the best temple in Uji City! It was absolutely marvelous! 

 It is also the best season for cormorant fishing called "Ukai" here!
Ukai is an unique traditional method to catch sweet fishes by surprising cormorants with a bonfire and let the cormorants swallow them.
It takes place in Uji river from 14th of June to 23rd of September.
I hear that these sweet fishes are really fresh thanks to the cormorants.
If you wish to take a boat, please buy the ticket (2,000yen per person) for the boat until 6pm as it is demonstrated for visitors from 7pm (6.30pm from 1st to 21st of September).

Uji River
I found cormorants in a cage!
It is a really quiet area for sightseeing surrounded by beautiful nature, compared to the centre of Kyoto City. I will try pints of green-tea beer next time I will visit there : )

rabbit island(大久野島)

Hello. I'm Hiro from J-Hoppers Hiroshima.

It's been sooo hot here in Japan lately.I feel like I can't survive without air conditioning...!

Have you ever heard about "rabbit island(大久野島)?"

This island is so small but hundreds of wild rabbits are inhabiting. They are just everywhere in the forests, paths and even under the benches!
If you'd like to feed them,you should buy vegetables like cabbage or Carrots before you go to the island.
But just be careful...Once you fed them, they will chase you..!

You can buy food for the rabbits on the island, but you can also bring your own cabbage, lettuce, or carrots to feed them. We even saw one guy carrying a huge bag of rabbit food that he brought in himself… Probably to - See more at: you'd like to feed them,you should buy vegetables like cabbage or Carrots before you go to the island.
The view of Seto inland sea from this island was so beautiful!

There are two ways to get to the island from Hiroshima.

1. By bus
From Hiroshima Bus Center, take “Kaguyahime-go”, an express bus bound for Tadanoumi Port. About a 1-hour-and-40-minute ride, get off at the last stop. Walk about 7 minutes to Tadanoumi Port. Take a ship to Ohkunoshima.

2.By JR
From Hiroshima station, take JR to Mihara station.
From there, take Kure line. Get off at Tadanoumi Station. Walk about 7 minutes to Tadanoumi Port. Take a ship to Ohkunoshima.

Here's Ship Schedule:

There is also camping space so you can enjoy BBQ and beautiful beach there!
If you love rabbits and want to enjoy this summer with them, I highly recommend this island!!

Hana no Yu

Hi, this is Nao from Kyoto Hana.

Would you like to go to a Japanese style  public bath?
Here is the one near from Hana!

=Hana no Yu=
Take train from JR Kyoto Sta. to Tanbaguchi Sta. for 3minutes and walk for 5minutes

They use the water from one of hotsprings in Shiga.
I went there last week and took many types of bath such as open-air bath, big bath, and jacuzzi.
Also, there is sauna!
I could be so relaxed and refreshed!

There are hotsprings in Arashiyama and Kurama too.
But if you don't have enough time to go to those ones, we recommend Hana no Yu:)