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!!

The last rakugaki post

 Me in the Winter

Me in the Spring

 I went to Inecho

Saw real seagulls

Found the next goal/image of life:
Living in somewhere can see seagulls everyday.

One year and 5 months in Kyoto, I have too many memories here.
Thousand of thanks to J-hoppers.
Thank you for accepting me as a member and a family.
Thanks Mitsuaki and Natsuki and Madi-san and Yoshi-san.
To leave is sad but I will keep following the wave of fate.
 Life goes on.
Good bye.

Paris Kyoto Reunion

I found out that Paris is one of the Kyoto's sister cities, and I've met a lot of French working professionals/students here - seems like they have special connection in between the two beautiful cities.

I met my Parisian Ben through Couchsurfing which I've been on for the last 9 years. Couchsurfing is a website for travelers who want to interact with locals, and they can even ask people to let them stay on their couches, or asking some local tips or hanging out with locals or other travelers. When I was accepting travelers in Fukuoka, we hosted so many travelers - more than 40 groups in total. And I kept offering my house with my family after I went back to my hometown that is in the middle nowhere and no one knows.
Ben was brave enough to send me a couchsurfing request and asked us if he could stay at our place in tiny town for a few nights, we were like "WHY NOT?", and it turned out to be one of the best couchsurfing experiences and the very first step of our long term friendship!
We showed him around my town, rocked my grandma's Karaoke bar with locals, enjoyed local food, people, overall great time. My family liked him so much that they showed him around even without me!
We were so impressed by his heart, flexibility, communication skill and how social he is in general, and we send each other postcard wherever we travel to, he usually sends me two postcards - one for me in English and the other one for my family in Japanese!

I got to visit him in Paris two years ago, and stayed with him and his fiancée for two weeks!

Paris was so beautiful - and I was surprised to see how many free stuff they could offer, from outdoor cinema to music event to art museum. And always great to hang out with locals to know the best part of the city apart from touristic things. People are so natural and know how to enjoy life, even though I imagine living in the big city like Paris can be tough and stressful sometimes.
It was so nice seeing him and Anna being together and happy, and they even asked me
"Emiko, can you come back to Paris in 3 months because we're having wedding then? And Anna is pregnant!" 
I was so happy even though I couldn't make it to their wedding, and OH MY GOSH their baby boy Noah is the cutest on earth. We write and skype, I'm very happy to see Noah growing up!

And they finally came to Japan, second time for Ben and the first time for Anna. They decided to leave Noah in Paris this time but I hope he can make it some time in the future :)

Me and my boyfriend showed them around a bit of Kyoto with a lot of "only in Japan" experience! Anna is so curious about everything and very adventurous! I love her so much, as a friend, as a mom of one, and as a working independent woman! (lawyer!)

wagashi making

Toji antique market


hahahaha Anna is serious
And even Karaoke!
It was so much fun spending time with this amazing couple, sharing fun times, showing them my favorite places in Kyoto and talking about our lives and past and future. We first met back in 2011, and life has changed A LOT. It's amazing that we keep in touch and care about each other and see our different life stages.
I love couchsurfing but it's pretty rare to keep contacting with the travelers, Ben is an exception!
I hope to see them again (and Noah), hopefully next time in Paris!

Country side cycling tour @ GOMA&SHICHIMI

Sakura season is coming soon.
Whoo!!!!! However hope all of you are not suffering from pollen allergy.
As daily habit I eat Yogurt  and do Yoga every morning to prevent this Allergy.

This Saturday I joined cycling tour to feel the begging of spring for the first time.
This cycling tour was just started by my friend and her husband near GOMA country side of Kyoto(about 1 hour). Actually I met her as guest of J-Stay.

One of our guest from Iceland joined this tour because she talked to me her hobby is cycling.
We met them 9:30 at Kameoka Station and then arrived to cycling station and theirs house under renovation by car.

Our goal 20km
cafe restaurant "SHICHIMI SHOGAKKO"
Visiting  Shirne to have fresh air.
Go around to see country side scenery.

On the way we found tiny edible wild plant "FUKINO TOU" on the small on footpath. The fragrance is so special like bitter and sweets. It is the first time to see in nature. Because always I have seen them at supermarket.

After 1 hour, we arrived our goal to have lunch Italian cafe restaurant "SHICHIMI SHOGAKKO" renovated old elementary school. In this building there are Rice cookies shop, illustrated books, antique shop, library, cafe, etc.

We enjoyed Italian amazing Pizza and pasta. There are so many kind of yummy past so it is impossible to choose one.

"Pandozo Cafe" There is Open kling for Pizza. The owner moved to open this restaurant from Sonobe station 5 years ago.

After satified our appetite, we visit Shrine "SHICHIMI HACHIMANGU"
There are holly tree more than 350 years old. The is only silence. No birds, No winds, No people. Just Silence. There is not this kind of shrine at the center of Kyoto.

And then we got back again cafe "MOUKI UBOKU" to tast Amazing cafe and cakes.
The owner baked all cake. This time I tasted GREEN TEA baked cake. Tasted so deep green tea but at the same time bitter of green tea a bit. It is incredible 600yen.

The way to back more one hour. But TREK Bike has 8 gear on rear tire. It is easy to go up hill.

I want to try again another season greenery on May.

Of course dinner was Tempura of this wild plants. We tasted Spring taste.



Hi, it's Shiori from J-hoppers Hiroshima.

Finally I recently went to rabbit island!!!



I bought cabbage and rabbit food in advance.

When I got off ferry in island, many rabbit was getting wind it and running at me.

I thought I am so popular here. It's like a paradise.

I wanted to keep this happy time as long as possible, so I tried to give the food little by little to rabbit.

My boyfriend looked at me and mumble

"You are mean.."

And he gave many foods to rabbit, of course  I wasn't getting popular because of him (and my way). It's not so funny!!

After that we visited poison gas museum.
It was a small museum but it made me think about a lot of things.


In conclusion, NO MORE WAR!!

Time of departure, we still had one big cabbage.
Then we bet which rabbit get it. We left and gazed at the cabbage in few minutes.

At that time, a boy (human) came in front of us and got it.


We were a loss for wards.

Anyway, we had good time.
There are many rabbits any where and they welcome you so kindly if you have foods.

You can relax and heal there:)

Petit Dinner for Habibis

We had an amazing dinner the other day at Hana Hostel kyoto.

I made Hamburger steak for them since our new cleaner is from Germany,  wanted him to try "Japanese version" of it.

It is called " Frekadelle " ふりかでる in Germany and he said it looks completely different of Japanese one.

It was the first time for me to make it but it was surprisingly easy.

It was almost like clay play I did when I was kid. just mixing up every ingredients and knead it until it gets soft and smooth, then make an ugly sphere and grill it.

I loved to make it.

I put an egg on it, too .

I hope everyone liked it.

How everyone cannot live without their mobile phones or the Internet

The other day a guest from Germany talked to me about what he found weird riding on subway in Japan. He recalled standing there enveloped in silence: everyone else around him, either alone, or in groups, just played with their phone, without speaking to each other. He said that in Germany, people would probably talk to each other, and even to strangers. (I would imagine in Hong Kong, my hometown, if you talk to a stranger on the subway, you will probably be greeted with a punch on the face, or better, a glare (if you are unusually attractive, you might get a different treatment though).

Mobile phones, along with the Internet and wi-fi, have invaded almost every part of our life, and when we meet with friends, we can no longer expect their full attention. More often than not, people will be multi-tasking, dividing their attention between the real and the virtual world; they will be listening to their friend sitting across them sharing about his skiing trip in Hokkaido while checking their facebook for new updates from other friends or the friend sitting just across them, or picking the most appropriate sticker in reply to an instant message from a friend. The notification function just makes things worse. Every few minutes, or worse, few seconds in the middle of a real-life conversation, you will be distracted by a flash on the screen, tempting you to read what your other friends have to say about the photo of the most delicious pizza that you have just sent them. Are you really listening to what I am saying, I would always wonder.

That is why I find hot spring such a wonderful place to have a nice chat with friends. There you can expect full attention from each other, fair and square, without any interruptions. Your phones, despite flashing with new messages coming in, are in the lockers, safely out of reach. If your friend goes so far as to excuse himself every few minutes to look at his phone, then it is time to consider whether you still want to be friend with this person. What I fear the most is the invention of 100% water-resistant phones. Wen mobile phones begin to invade the hot spring space, it will be not worst nightmare come true. Another safe haven is high up in the mountains when the signal cannot be reached. I still fondly remember the night I spent at a mountain hut in 2,200 m above sea level. Without internet connection, I did have the countless friends to reach out to. Instead, I was spending the night together with 30 odd strangers in the same mountain hut, under the same starry sky. I and a few other guests were standing outside, looking up at the twinkling stars, captivated by their beauty and exchanging words of exclamation from time to time. I knew that at that time I was both physically and mentally present at the space, taking in the beauty around me with my full body and mind.

Sometimes I think it will be great to have a no-mobile phone/internet gathering with friends. This way, we can really have a real and attentive conversation. I even think it might be good to have a no wi-fi day at our guesthouse too, so that guests will be encouraged to talk or hang out with each other. I do not think it will be popular with the guests though. We have grown so used to the Internet that we do not seem to be able to live without it for more than a day, or even a few hours. But I do think we actually can. Sometimes when I go on a trip, I deliberately turn off the Internet so that I can have my senses fully devoted to where I am at the moment. I must say it works surprisingly well for me. Try it when you have a chance! 

Kitayama - Takayama

Hello everyone,
It is Nana from J-Hoppers Hida-Takayama.

Since I first came in Takayama one of my favorite place in Takayama is Kitayama Parc.

To get to this parc you need to go up hill behind the main shrine : Sakura Mangu Jinja. As you go up and up, you will see the city from above going along the Miyagawa river. Then you will get pass the cafe Ichii and reach the parc.

Then I recommend you to go to Ichii and enjoy the sunset from the terrace.
The night ambient is nice too.

Washi stores in Kyoto

Hi there ! It's Madi from Kyoto Hana Hostel :)

Today I'm talking about washi stores in Kyoto.

Few months before, one of my friend who is from states and currently lives in Hiroshima told me that there is the nice washi shop in downtown.
And when she was explaining how good that shop is, she was smiling and exciting which was unusual for her cause she is normally cool so she made me curious and finally I went there yesterday :)

Before I go crazy to talk about that shop, please allow me to explain what washi is.

Washi is Japanese traditional handmade paper and is used is tough, bug-proof, and really versatile. Sometimes it is dyed after the sheets are dry, instead of during the paper-making process. Washi patterns and designs can be controlled by folding techniques before dyeing! Dyeing only the edges of the folds can create fantastic, heart-warming designs so beautiful they can be framed, or used as center pieces and also used for paper screens, paper screen doors called shoji.

*Washi lanterns*

So now get back to my story ! The store is located near Nishiki food market in Kyoto. The name is Suzuki shofudo.
As soon as you enter into the store, you will be surprised by the number of items !
You can see the different design of washi sheets on the wall and washi items are everywhere so you may feel like you are in the wonderland ;)

I didn't expect but I spent 1 hour there (so I was late to see my friend !) and couldn't decide what to get for a while ! Well I wasn't meant to buy anything but couldn't help once I entered into the store ! So spent for a while there, walked around over and over... then at the end I spent 5000JPY for one time shopping LOL Dear... !

*These are all made by Washi !*
If you are looking for nice or traditional souvenirs from Kyoto, this may be good but be aware that you will spent much money and time like me LOL

Haral restaurants in Takayama

We have a lots of Muslim visitors from Malaysia and Indonesia in Takayama.

Many of them bring foods from home because there are few Haral restaurants in Japan.

A lot of restaurants in Takayama support Haral foods for Muslim visitors lately.

We have pamphlet of the map so you do not need to worry about foods in Takayama.

You do not need to buy only rice ball at convenient store anymore!!

Amaharashi Kaikan

This was my third visit to Amaharashi Kaikan in Toyama prefecture, which is famous for the spectacular view of snowcapped Tateyama mountain range against the sea. In fact, the notoriously shy Tateyama mountain range more often than not hides behind the clouds or haze. That is why during my first two visits I could not see it. Imagine how excited I was then when I arrived there.

If it were not so windy and cold, I imagine it would be lovely walking along the seaside or just sitting down to take in the view leisurely. I will definitely come back again, perhaps in spring or summer.

If you are around that area, I also recommend going to the Kittokito fish market right by the sea, where you can try fresh seafood of the day! Yummy!


Hi,this is Ena from Hiroshima Hana hostel.

Our hostel is located between JR Hiroshima station and the MAZDA baseball stadium.Right next to the baseball stadium,there is a COSTCO. (only 10min walk from Hana!)

This month,I went shopping there with staffs from Hana hostel and bought some fresh food.
As you may know, usually, you need to be its member to enter the shop and purchase products.
However,even if you do not have it ,at the Costco here in Hiroshima,you are allowed to enter the food court  without the membership card.Also,food at the food court are really cheap! It costs ONLY 180yen for a hot dog and refillable drinks.
The baseball season is coming soon in Hiroshima.
Why don't you go to costco before the baseball game and enjoy Hiroshima more?

Check it out for further infomation about them:
Costco wholesale HIROSHIMA
Regular hours :10:00am-8:00pm
(Dec 31st and Jan 1st: 9am – 6pm )
2-3-4 Minami-Kaniya Minami-ku, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima 732-0803, Japan
◎15min walk from Hiroshima station
◎10min walk from Hana Hostel

Kyoto : Kimono : Camera

Hello! This is Tomomi from Hiroshima HANA.

Last month, we celebrated J-Hoppers' 15th anniversary with a party in KYOTO.
It was really fun!

While in Kyoto, we managed to visit some temples and dress up with a Kimono.

It was the first time for me to wear such a colorful one. So it was exciting!
We were taking pictures with our phones, but then a Japanese guy came and told us he could take the pictures for us.

It turned out he was a professional photographer. So lucky for us!! 

I was so surprised because the pictures taken by his camera were so good and different compared to those taken by my iPhone… 

So I started to think about getting a better camera, but on the other hand, it always looks so heavy…

So, if you know a good camera, which is not that big and heavy, please send me your recommendations!

And if I get the chance to wear such a colorful Kimono again, I would be very happy.

Relaxing in Nara: )


How are you today?

Today,I would love to introduce about one of my favorite cafe in Nara.

It is called -Kuruminoki-くるみの木(Trees Of Walnut).

The emibience of the cafe is very lovely cozy and comfy...

You can not only enjoy the deserts and cakes but also get fancy and lovely knickknacks.

And the wife and huzband who are really kind and nice own and run the cafe, they will be walcoming and take care of you!

Such a lovely place there are: )

「くるみの木  雑貨」の画像検索結果

 「くるみの木 画像」の画像検索結果

「くるみの木 画像」の画像検索結果

「奈良 くるみの木 ケーキ」の画像検索結果

If you explore in Nara,please visit there: )

I hope you have a lovely day!!

Sarubobo drawings

If you have not seen Sarubobo then you have not been in Gifu prefecture yet !
Sarubobo is really famous here, and almost everywhere !

Sarubobo can be seen as a mascot now, but it used to be a popular amulet and doll for young girls. "Saru-" means Monkey and "-bobo" baby. The mother and grand-mother make the doll from the zabuton, those small pillow used to seat on in Japanese house. Sarubobo as no face as the child can project the image, it can be anyone !

And here in Takayama you can see Sarubobo even in our guesthouse !
Lately I drew a lot of book cover for the "Guest Book".
My first Sarubobo cover was in November 2016.

Then I made a new one for February (well January was a Rooster) and prepare one for the next season ! Now I do not have other choice to keep on drawing Sarubobo for each cover of our Guest Book !

And of course when my manager asked me to draw the cover of our "Recipe Book" I could not do anything else than... Sarubobo !

I am becoming a professional for Sarubobo drawing.

Can you see the Rooster on the last three ones ?