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!!

Kabuki!Kabuki!Kabuki!




Hi there!
It's getting warm and warm and The cherry blossoms are really beautiful now.
If you are in Japan,bring your lunch or dinner and have a drink under threes!!



At the beginning of March,I visited to Kyoto to see Kabuki theater.
I've been curious to know Kabuki for a long time and finally could see it!!Yay!!

Kabuki is a theatrical form that integrates acting,dancing,music and elaborate stage equipment.It is performed by men.

At Kyoto Minamiza,They do two shows a day.
(They do not play Kabuki every month,please check the information before you go)

I booked the seat the day before, and it was 3000yen per person.
There is cafe in Minamiza,but I bought lunch box near the station and rent a headset with Japanese guide.


One play takes about 1hour and a half or 2hours normally.


It was beautiful and I'm so impressed.
Time
has passed very quickly and I decided to come and see this again near the future!!


If you are interested in Japanese culture and fed up with temples and shrines,
I
defiantly recommend to see Kabuki theater.





1,During the show,someone shout a stage name for the actor.
They are called "Ohmuko",they shout actor's stage name when the drama reaches
its climax.

2,Kabuki actor's make-up is so unique and it have special meanings.

The make -up is called "Kumadori"exaggerates actor's emotions.
Red is used for justice and goodwill,blue for injustice and evil,
and brown for evil spirits.

Did I scare you??


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

If you're traveling in Japan, have you seen SAKURA(cherry blossoms) yet?

From late March-April is SAKURA season in Japan!
The cherry blossoms are one of my favorite flower, so I can't wait to go to Peace park and walk along an avenue lined with cherry blossoms!!


By the way, I've got hay fever...
If I forgot to take a medicine, I'll be in big trouble...runny noses, sneezing and blood shot eyes...

One day, I was wearing mask to cover my mouth and nose because my hay fever was so bad that day.
One of our guests asked me,
"Why do Japanese people wear mask??"

Well, I know that's weird...
Sorry for scared you, but don't worry!!! There's some reasons!

1.Because they got a cold.
→They don't want other people to get a cold from their cough and sneeze.


2.Because they don't want to get a cold.
→They're afraid of  getting illness like flu.


3.Because they have hay fever like me.


If you feel like you're getting hay fever in japan, just go run to pharmacy and get a mask!
It may help you a lot!!!

Celebration ages

My father had his 60th birthday a few days ago and we celebrated it.
60-year-old is one of the important ages in Japan.
60 means accomplishing one big circle and starting another one in one's life as the traditional 60 year calendar cycle of lunar calendar.

We celebrate with the color of red for 60th birthday.
We used to give a red hood and a red padded sleeveless kimono jacket like this illustration.

But those are not cool and useful so my brother and I decided to give him a red jacket for fishing because he really likes fishing.

We celebrate at ages 70, 77, 80, 88, 90, 99, and 108 too.
Each age respectively carries meaning related to the characters used to express the age or historical facts.
And each age has own celebration color.

Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum

Hey! This is Russian from Kyoto!

Since spring sunny days finally came to Kansai, me and my friend headed to Kobe to enjoy the sea, walk around downtown and Chinatown and try Kobe beef.
Unexpectedly, the most impressive thing about Kobe turned out to be Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum. In January 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake happened in Kansai, which almost destroyed the whole city Kobe. The museum is spread over 5 floors and features several dioramas of how the Kobe streets looked immediately after the quake and how the city recovered from that day. Several video displays across the museum also help to highlight earthquake awareness. Explanations in English and headsets in different languages were a very nice surprise for us!

English speaking volunteers were eager to tell us many facts about Kobe and answer our questions.
It took 10 years to completely rebuild the whole city. One of volunteers to whom we were talking about Tohoku and Kobe earthquakes, said that because people in Kansai are much more optimistic than people in Tohoku, they could overcome all the grief and make Kobe stunning beautiful place in such a short time!

Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum is may not be a place where you can have fun, but it shows all the disastrous power of nature and helps to understand Japanese mentality. MUST SEE! 

Sakura Season

Hi, this is Nana from Fukuoka Hana Hostel.

The temperature is getting warmer here in Fukuoka. I am feeling that spring is finally here!

Cherry blossom (Sakura in Japanese) is one of my favorite flowers!

I did not have time to go see cherry blossoms. So this year, I am definitely going to one of the parks to see them!!!!

The popular parks for cherry blossom viewing  are Ohori park, Nishi park, and Maizuru park.
Ohori park is only 5 minutes away by subway from nearest station.
We always recommend there for a walk.

I just found out few days ago, there are trees of cherry blossoms along the river side of Nakasu where many Yatai (food venders) are!



I do go drinking at all, but if I could see this beautiful flowers this close, I would go drink at Yatai!



☆HIROSHIMA CARP☆


Hello!! I'm Mayu from J-Hoppers Hiroshima:)

Do you have any favorite baseball team?

In Hiroshima, There is a great team!!

HIROSHIMA TOYO CARP

 


Actually, This team is not so strong...

Only in recent years, It left behind good performance.

Then... From this season... A man came back to 

our CARP!!!!!!!!

He is really famous in America as well.

He had been with Dodgers and Yankees as pitcher.

His name is Hiroki Kuroda!!!


He used to be with CARP 8years ago.

When he has gone to America,He promised us to

come back here some day.

He kept the promise with CARP fan!!!!!!





Then, We are so exciting for this season a lot!!!

CARP must get the pennant!!!!

Now, Hiroshima is hot on baseball match!

If you have any chance to go to stadium,

It should be great time for you:)

Please join us and cheer for CARP!!!!!









 




 


Spring

Sakura season is coming!!
Spring is my favorite season because lots of flower start to bloom from spring.
It becomes really beautiful with full of flowers especially Sakura!
We love having Hanami.
Hanami is a Japanese tradition of enjoying  the blooming of cherry blossom.
We celebrate this event by having a party under the beautiful Sakura.
All people from kids to the elderly enjoy a party.
We appreciate nature through traditional customs.   
 



















 Let's celebrate the spring season with our tradition of cherry  blossom viewing!!

Our new wall!

We have been renovating and repairing our building.
We asked high school girls to paint our wall and these are what they did!!!

They didn't paint actually they cut the sticker seat and put them on the wall!
It's amazing isn't it?

They graduated high shcool this March and they will got to Art university soon!

Dotonbori

Osaka catsle
Aquarium
 Universal studio Japan
We are so happy to see these!!!!!

two ways to celebrate spring: Taiko & Gagaku

This is Kimy from J-Stay.
Spring is coming in Kyoto! 
According today's weather report in Kyoto Sakura will bloom from 25th March. And the beginning of April will come to the peak. Everyone can't wait more. :)
But it will be cold from next Monday. We say this change of weather三寒四温(Sankan Shion) which means cycle of three cold days and four warm days. This change requires for having beautiful flower. 
Before arriving Sakura Many blossom make us happy when going to station everyday. 

Mokuren, 
Hinageshi, 
Hioki Sakura, 
Margaret and more....

For Japanese Spring is the best timing for new start. So there are different type of events for celebration of Spring. 
I went to music events last weekend and yesterday which were invited by J-Stay Guests. 

1)Taiko: Japanese percussion 
Always our French chef cooked delicious food in share house. 
Last weekend he showed us another talent for Taiko, Japanese percussion which he started from this year. This time was the first Taiko performance at Biwako Hall. 

This event was showing different level of class from beginners and semi professional. This live lasted 4 hour and half. I felt it one way to express energy from the bottom of our body like dance. I learned Salsa dance in Mexico. So when I watched performance I almost danced. 

Final performance of teachers with many different type of Taiko
like yelling from soul



On the other hand, yesterday I went to 
Gagaku performance. 
One 
Gagaku is ancient imperial court music and dances. Japanese classical music more than 1,200 years Originally the music for God in Shrine So stage of Gagaku looks like Shrine. 
Flutes, oboe, percussion and mini organ. 
ago. So it says the oldest Japanese traditional orchestra. 

Ichihime Shrine locates on Kawaramachi nanazyo have this seasonal performance for get popular every spring. 
http://ichihime.net/gagaku/
Costume was so delicate unique and beautiful. 
We really enjoy like living ancient period. 



Enjoy  your spring. 


Fertility Festival


No, it is not pornography nor is it a joke. But yes, the huge object is exactly what you are supposing it is. The photos were taken at a festival called Hounensai, or fertility festival, which is among the few unusual but famed festivals in Japan. While at one glance this festival, which is held every year on March 15 at Tagata shrine in Komaki city, might come across as vulgar or indecent, it is actually nothing like that. In fact, it is a very important and dead-serious festival (how serious festival participants treat is another question, though) to pray for fertility, not least because the birth rate in Japan slumped to a record low in 2014. It is held in spring because it is when new life begins after the bitter winter. In fact, the shrine itself is dedicated to the same purpose throughout the year, inside which you will find numerous stones and objects featuring the male apparatus.

During the festival, a group of strong men will carry a mikoshi, or portable Shinto shrine taking the shape of phallus, a weighty one weighing a few hundred kilograms, and parade the streets, stopping from time to time to swirl it 360 degrees for a few times (to the excitement of parade revelers armed with sophisticated smart phones, cameras and selfie devices). In addition, women playing the role of miko, or shrine priestess, will also join the parade, cradling in their arms phallus-shaped objects for parade watches lining on the sides of the road to touch, the act of which is said to lead to child birth. Sweets and souvenirs of the same theme are also sold at the festival venue.

I do recommend you go and see for yourself if you have a chance.





Thank you so much, Ranna! We will miss you.

Our colleague, Ranna has left Osaka Hana Hotel in February. 
She has been wonderful colleague and senior of me.
Hideko me and Ranna 2years ago:)
We had a farewell party for her and many friends and staffs from other brunch came to join the party.

This 2and half year has been great.
We went through great time and some time hard time, too.
But each every moments are good memories for me.
It was my birthday last year.
You always gave me a lot of love!
1st year anniversary
2nd year anniversary
We are not colleague anymore, but our friendship is forever!
We never forget your hospitality and your smile.
Thank you, Ranna!!
Thank you Ranna and all the best in your future!!

Jonangu Shrine: Ume blossoms were in full bloom!!

Hello! This is Yoshi!!
I hear that the best season for full-blown ume blossoms is around early March.
So, I visited Jonangu Shrine, where there is a beautiful Japanese garden for ume blossoms, on March 8th!
Ume blossoms
Jonangu 城南宮

Jonangu Shrine is well known as "Houyoke-no-taisha (方除の大社)," which is believed to remove  calamities related to direction.
The shrine has five different kinds of Japanese gardens: Haru-no-yama (春の山),  "Heian-no-niwa (平安の庭)," "Muromachi-no-niwa (室町の庭)," "Momoyama-no-niwa (桃山の庭)," and "Jonanrikyu-no-niwa (城南離宮の庭)
Each of the gardens has a variety of Japanese traditional views, which leads us to feel relaxed and calm.

Momoyama-no-niwa

I found carp swimming in a pond!

Heian-no-niwa

I was impressed with beautiful ume blossoms and camellias in the Shinen area.

Welcome to Shinen (神苑) !!

So beautiful!!!


 Why don't you visit Japanese gardens with ume blossoms before the sakura season?





What's White Day ?

Valentine day is widely known in the world as you know.

Valentine day in Japan is known as a day which females give something (most of the time it's chocolate) to males who they are found of, as you probably have heard of (or not).

March 14th, White day is not something you could find in western culture.
Sounds like a racist day? No way. Then what is it?

It's the day  males who has got something from females around have to give something back in return.
It was born in Japan and has spread to many Asian countries like China, Taiwan, South Korea (so Wikipedia says).

It's all about commercial, one of the stories says its origin has to do with some sweets companies decision to make March 14th promoting as White day to sell their products after Valentin's day with a advertising slogan saying like:

"I'll give your chocolate love back in white soft marshmallow of my love"

I'm almost throwing up with this cheesy words but anyway...

If you are in Japan now or visiting before March 14th, you sure will find many many stores promoting goods for White day:)

Why don't you get something for your precious ones with many thank-yous??

By the way, Ive just learned that there is "Black Day"in South Korea which is about
people who are heart broken after Valentin's day and white day gathering up and
pity partying.


 Have a good one everyone:)






Spring season is coming

Hello I'm Shige. 
Time is going so fast. 
February is over and now already March. 
Spring season is coming. 
 
Spring is my favorite season Because we can make Hanami party under the cherry tree.
 
So I want to recommend the place to make nice Hanami party on Kyoto.
 
Maruyama Park 
One of famous place to make it. 
And there have big and historical cherry tree.
Many people go there to see it.
 
You must see it when you come.
Many Students, office workers, friends and couples are going there. 
 
  
Hirano shrine
This shrine is famous about cherry blossom. 
Many food shops open in the shrine.

 
  
Incline  
Hugo's place does not have shops. 
But there have very good view of cherry blossom. 
You can see the cherry tunnel.
 
 
I can not wait this season. 
Please enjoy the cherry blossom if you come to Kyoto in spring.
 
 
 
 

三寺まいり Santera Mairi (Three Temple Visit Festival)


On 15 January, 2015, I just visited a local Festival in Hida Furukawa which is 15 minutes by train from Takayama.  

This festival was originated 200 years old and was used as an event for creating opportunities for young men and women to meet.  Nowadays, it becomes a festival for young women to dress in kimono wishing for good relationships.  In order to experience the local culture, we made an early reservation for the kimono and arrived Hida Furukawa around 6:00p.m. to get dressed by the professional lady in the kimono rental place.  It was the first time for me to wear Kimono in winter and walking on the ice with the Japanese wooden clogs.  It was colder than we expected!!! However, the atmosphere of the festival makes us forget about the coldness.  The first thing that we have to do is to get 3 stamps of the three temples, then we have to put our candles on the side of the river and light them up.  This is the important moment: make a wish for good relationships!! While our eyes are shut to make the wishes, we could hear the sound of camera shutters on our side.  I realized this is the main spot for taking photos for the festival and there are lots of camera lovers waited at the river for taking pretty pictures of young lady in the festival.  Finally, I was able to receive some good ones from them.  

It was an interesting and unforgettable experience to attend Santera Mari Festival.  If you would like to see snow candles and lanterns in a traditional old down while dressing in kimono, we recommend you to join this festival. 





For more information, please refer to the below website:
http://www.hida-kankou.jp/kanko/foreign/en/things-to-do/festivals/

The story of a frog lucky charm


A friend of mine, who earlier scrapped her plan to visit Takayama because she luckily got a ticket to Arashi’s concert, felt enough guilt to arrange for another trip to Takayama soon after, and that’s what brought us to the Okuhida area, where we had the good luck to meet a really nice Japanese couple.

Probably in their late fifties or early sixties, they were traveling in Okuhida when we met them at Fukuchi Onsen. At that time we were mesmerized by the breathtaking views of emerald green frozen ice spikes there, they stopped their car by the side, apparently hoping to take a few shots of that spectacular view as well. After taking a few photos for one another, we were about to split ways and head down to a morning market when the man took out two small objects and handed them to us. It was a key chain in the shape of a frog (I actually think it looks more like a butterfly, but this is not the point), with a number written on one side, and the Japanese phrase `Buji kaeru’, which means ‘returning safe and sound’, on the other. This message is associated with a frog because in Japanese, the pronunciation of ‘frog’ is the same as that of ‘return’. 




Then the man told us the lovely story behind the frog key chain, which he hand-made one by one, 300 in total. At the very beginning, there was no plan at all to make so many, and he just made one as a lucky charm for himself when he ventured out of his home. One day after hiking with his wife, the lucky charm was no where to be seen. It was not like he had lost his wallet or something, so he made no attempt to look for it. After a few months, when he went hiking at the same place again. he found the key chain being hung on a branch: the frog returns safely. It was that symbolic reappearance of the frog that prompted him to make 300 of them, which he has given to people he met on the way, hoping they would all return safely. I was the 292th, and I returned home safe and sound. It doesn’t matter the key chain doesn’t look like a frog. It is the feelings of care for other people it contains that counts.

The couple was kind enough to offer to drive us to Shin-hotaka where we could take the ropeway up to see the mountains. On the way, they even took the trouble to take us to a few extra spots to take some really lovely pictures. And the lady found a good spot for us to have a snow dive without bleeding our nose. They were so friendly and fun-loving! They did not go up with us, but we saw them waving to us from below when we were going up. I feel really thankful to have been blessed with so many lovely encounters here, and I will never forget this, and I hope there is more to come. And undoubtedly I will bring this frog along for every hike from now on!