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!!

2014 - 2015

2014 is going to finish already...

New Year is the most important day for Japanese people and we pray to have a healthy and happy new year in a shrine. Even the shrine is packed, This is the peaceful moment.

What have you done in 2014?
And what do you want to do in 2015?

I try something new every year.

2012 : Traveling to India for 7 weeks and also singing "Beethoven Symphony No.9" with 10000 Choirs in Osaka.

2013 : Vippasana meditation for 10 days in 2013.

2014 : 8hrs climbing to Yakushima and also walking "El camino de Santiago" for 114km in 2014.
Now I'm thinking what I try for the year coming...

I really hope that you will have a happy Christmas and New Year!!!


New year in Japan

Konnichiwa!! This is Tomomi from Hiroshima.

It's already Dec 18th!!
We will have Christmas and New Year's soon!!! Time flies so fast...

New Year's is one of Japan's most important festivals.
Japanese people go to visit shrines for the first time of the new year, which is called Hatsumode(初詣).

On Miyajima Island, there are a lot of events around the new year and into the first weeks of January.

They will have Chinkasai Fire Festival on Dec 31st from 6PM. Groups of locals carrying huge flaming torches parade between the large stone torii gate at the end of the entrance of Itsukushima Shrine. 

The heat is so strong, you will forget the cold.

Itsukushima Shrine will open from midnight to 8pm on Jan 1st. Because it's SOOOOOOO crowded every year, the ferry runs every 10-15 minutes.

So, I recommend you go there around 1am to around 6pm if you don't want to wait in the long line to Itsukushima shrine.

But it will be worth the visit!! Hatsuhinode(初日の出), which is the first sunrise of the new year, will be absolutely amazing.


Why don't you celebrate New Year's in Japan and go Hatsumode!?
You will have an unforgettable experience.

Nice Okonomiyaki Shop in Shinsaibashi, Namba area

Hello! This is Masae from Osaka Hana Hostel!

Have you had Okonomiyaki before? It's a savory pancake which is very popular food in Osaka.

My friend visited me from Okinawa, and her favorite food is Okonomiyaki, so I really want to take her to my favorite restaurant "Fukutaro" 福太郎.
There are 2restaurants around in Shinsaibashi, Namba area.
I took her the one in Takashimaya department (高島屋) store in Namba. 

They open from 11am to 11pm.(Last order is 10:30pm)

They have an iron plate (鉄板)in front of you and the end of the table is the place where chef cook.
So if you are seated in front of the chef, you will enjoy seeing chef cooking. 

If you go there please try their special menu  "Negi-yaki".
It is similar to Okonomiyaki, but it has more spring onion (negi) and it's very fluffy.
Okonomiyaki has got Okonomiyaki Sause (thick sweet sause) on the top, 
but Negi-yaki has got soy sause (their special blended sause).

My friend was so impressed with Negi-yaki and we ordered 2 Negiyaki and 1 Okonomiyaki.
I don't mind to eat it everyday.

Food is delicious and staff were friendly.
Chef seems enjoying his work and every time he brought the food to us, he offered us to cut our Okonomiyaki in half. It was so nice of him.
He cut 2 okonomiyaki in half and make half and half Okonomiyaki!
After we left, we walked toward to Kuromon Market (黒門市場).
We saw the main restaurant on the way. They open only for dinner.
Open hour is 5pm to 12pm (11:30pm)

I remember last time I came to this restaurant I had to wait for 30minutes to get in.
They are so popular!
Main restaurant in Namba
If you come to Osaka, please try Okonomiyaki!

There are so many Okonomiyaki restaurants and each one has a different specialty.

We hope you enjoy them in Osaka:)

Mt. Hiei

Hello, this is Asuka from Kyoto Hana Hostel.

It is getting colder and colder outside.
But I am active and I climbed Mt. Hiei last week :)

Mt. Hiel is very beautiful mountain and Enryaku Tepmle is adorable.
Winter is not good season for climbing mountain but still enjoyable :)

It took around 3 hours to reach the top of mountain.
However, we got the beautiful land scape and that was worth it !

Be active and go out side to get small happiness ;) haha

See you next time !

Shirakawa-go and Takayama painted in white

Despite the Japanese Observatory forecasting a warm winter with less snowfall this year, the beginning of December has witnessed a large part of Japan enveloped in snow. When it comes to snow, Takayama and the wider Hida area have not shortage of it. But the initial forecast did make me lose some sleep as it is my first year in Takayama and I am looking forward to a snowy and white winter. But it seems my worry was unwarranted. In fact, this December turns out to be a pretty cold one.

So you can imagine my excitement when snow started snowing in Takayama, and even more so when I arrived at Shirakawa-go, where there was massive amount of snow. I stayed there for one night and the next morning the snow was more than 1 metre deep! Given the large amount of snowfall at Shirakawa-go every year, I cannot help but wonder if residents there hate snow as I imagine it must be hard work clearing away the snow on the ground and on the roof every two hours! It is physically demanding and tiring. But according to the owner of a small restaurant I frequent at Takayama, they actually love snowball despite their complaining about the trouble all the time. The reason is that they can feel a sense of achievement whenever they finish removing the snow in front of the house, and it is clearly visible, plain for the eyes to see. Moreover, they get to exercise and they feel every more alive even during the cold winter. 

So stop hiding indoors during this winter! Come to embrace the snow and winter here in Takayama, and in Shirakawa-go. We offer half-day tours to Shirakawa-go every day, so we sincerely invite you to join us for some winter fun!

Okonomiyaki & surprise birthday party!!

Konnichiwa from Hiroshima Hana hostel. It's Kana here.
2014 is finishing in less than a month!OMG!!!!im not ready to welcome 2015 yet!!

We have Okonomiyaki party almost every Thursday. (We do not have one sometime).
Our Volunteer staff Mari for the party always make sure everybody have fun and teach them how to make Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki. She teaches how to make it, they learn and make own Okonimiyaki which is great fun and awesome experience.

She always pay attention for the guest and staff to make sure everybody enjoy the party, so Hana staff wanted to show the appreciation, so we organised surprise birthday party on the same day of Okonomiyaki party!

We all sang a song together for her and had BD cake and champagne!

Many many thanks to Mari and the awesome guest who joined the Okonomiyaki party and drink after that!

Epic adventure or how I was looking for a job in Japan.

Tokyo. July. It is +32 outside. I am walking to my next job interview. I can feel how drops of sweat are sliding along my neck. I am wearing black skirt covering my knees, white blouse and black jacket. This is, actually, called a summer suit. But to be honest I feel like a white bear that has reached equator.

All Japanese university graduates go through this procedure. Students usually start job-hunting on their 3d year. So when they graduate they already have jobs. I am foreigner so my way is little bit different. It is called 転職(for those who already have some working experience and just decided to change a company. My interview is taking place at Roppongi. One luxury hotel chain is looking for receptionists. While my `natural` make-up, made according all basic job-hunting rules, is gradually melting I am listening to HR manager talking about the company. This day is going to be tiring. There are about 100 people who came to get the same job. We all look the same way. Beside of the fact that I am the only foreigner. I am through 3 interviews (1 in English and 2 in Japanese) and a test. In 6 hours it was done. And I failed. Luckily, I failed.

My job interview with J-Hoppers was on Skype, as I lived in Tokyo. Skype interviews are awesome! As I could see my face on the monitor as well, it was much easier to keep smiling. And I am quiet sure it is the only reason why they hired me! One more good point is that nobody could see what I was wearing. So my top was a proper look, and down was just pajamas. The coziest interview ever!
Actually I got to know about J-Hoppers in 2013, when I stayed in Hana Hostel in Osaka for a night. I was surprised about things I saw there. People who do not know each other, people with different cultures and religions, from all over the world seat and talk at the lounge drinking and eating together. I felt envy, as I wanted to be a part of this not just for one night. And I was given that chance!
My 3 month trial period has finished! Now I am a part of great and very open-minded J-Hoppers Team. I am sure I will do mistakes and make people angry with me sometimes! But I will do my best to become useful and professional! I still can not believe that I got this job. Job that makes me happy and brings a lot of new people and ideas to my life! And one more thing! Kyoto is just amazing! I am in love with this city! 

Hanoi trip !!

Hi there!!
I've worked here almost 6years now.
As I meet lots of guest from all around the world,I feel very much that I want to travel somewhere...

That's why I went to Hanoi on my vacation!!Yay!!!
It's a first time to visit south-eastern Asia.

5-hour flight was not that bad and When I finished reading a book,I landed on Hanoi.

I was so surprised that The traffic was unbelievable.
I had no idea how to go across the street....but got used it at the end!

There are so many people and bikes and cars everywhere in Hanoi.
I felt this place is full of energy.

There are lots of nice and delicious food are sold on the street ..
Pho tiu is one of my favorite, a noodle dish with a sweet and sour soup of pork and fish sauce. Bowls of hot broth were poured out one by one in front of me, before the women  sprinkled handfuls of fried onion, lean pork, bean sprouts and peanuts onto each, along with a ladle of chilli sauce.

And also  chè sen is one of my favorite sweets!!
It's just 30000VND and so yummy!!
If there is chè sen cafe in Hiroshima,I definitely eat it everyday.

I spent 5days,
I'm amazed at how fast the time goes by.

Nanoi gave me lots of power and It's one of a place for refreshment.
Thaks Hanoi and I hope to be back there near the future again.

Love radio!

What I am into over last a few months is radio. There is no TV and computers at my place. I got the question many times,'What do you do at your place so?' when I tell my situation to my friends but I am actually busy somehow. May be to clean,laundry,cook and something more. Sometimes I think that it is very quiet at my place as I live by myself without TV and computer though. However,I found really nice tool to live more fun. It is the radio. I used to listen to the radio every day when I was high school student. Sending a fax with my request for songs was what I did for fun at the time. I was listening it while I study,I paint(My subject was design in the school.). It is difficult to concentrate on something while I watch TV but radio does not interrupt me even though I listen it as I do something. I really have forgot about radio these days but suddenly got remember one day when my stereo components was broken. My amusement was listening music at my place but it could not be available anymore as the machine does not play CD anymore. I was so sad. Really sad..but I got an idea that the machine should be able to work for radio! I have been listening radio since the day. It makes me warm when I hear my favorite songs from radio by chance(that feels different as I play those songs by CD by myself). Listening same voice for same time everyday from the radio also makes me warm as well. Why do not listen the radio when you are board watching TV and doing internet?

Hiroshima Dragonflies!!

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

There are two famous professional sports teams in Hiroshima.
The most famous team is the Hiroshima Toyo Carp(Baseball team) and the other one is the Sanfrecce Hiroshima(Soccer team.)
These two teams are loved by a lot of people since a long time ago.

But! Finally, in October 2014, Hiroshima has entered into NBL(National Basketball League.)

The team name,Hiroshima Dragonflies, it comes from Miyajima dragonflies that is very rare dragonflies inhabiting only in Miyajima island in Japan.
From long time  ago,dragonflies are called as"Kachimushi"(victory bugs) because they only fly forwards and never retreat, so it's regarded as lucky and which brings victory.

Team colors are orange and blue.
Orange=Tori gate of Itsukushima shrine in Miyajima island.
Blue=Seto Island Sea.

My friend already went to a match to cheer Hiroshima Dragonflies the other day and took some pictures for me!

                                        I'm rooting for our new team!

                           Let's go Hiroshima Dragonflies!!

☆The best RYOKAN I've ever stayed☆

Hello!! Now, It's really nice season in Hiroshima.

Autumn is the best season in Japan I think:)

By the way, Have you ever stayed at RYOKAN?
RYOKAN is a Japanese inn. It has Japanese traditional style.

I stayed one RYOKAN the day before yesterday.

It's in Yuda onsen,Yamaguchi prefecture.

 The name of RYOKAN is Tokiwa.

Now a days, It's very famous as entertainer.

They have a show every night.

especially a madam is amazing entertainer!!


 It appears on the scene many kind of doll,musical instrument

machine.They can play Japanese traditional music,dancing,song.

I enjoyed a lot and take much force from the show!!

And also I took a hot spring. It was really nice.

They have a great room, meal, bath and show.

I fully enjoyed staying  in there.



I love staying at RYOKAN and taking hot spring.

So I have many experience about that.

I have stayed a lot of RYOKAN but they're one of the best.

I would like to stay with them again!!

If you have any chance to go to Yamaguchi,

You should go there!!!!

Autumn leaves

Are you enjoying "kouyou (colorful autumn leaves)"?
Seeing Autumn Leaves is the one of the most popular fall events in Japan!
It is so gorgeous when the leaves change to red, yellow, gold and orange.
We usually go day trip to enjoy looking beautiful leaves in temples, parks, some other places in the nature and feel the changing of the seasons.

Minoh Park is the one of the popular place to see Autumn Leaves in Osaka.
It is a great combination with a water fall.
Minoh Park is also famous for Maple leave tempura.

Why don't you enjoy and try unique tempura!

Kyoto one day trip!

I went to Kyoto yesterday.
It was best time to see the red leaves actually super crowded though :(
I went to Arashiyama, there is very famous bridge which is called Togetsukyo, I had to wait to just across tht bridge maybe 20 or 30 min.

This is Togetsukyo. 
Nobody on this picture but it was packed yesterday!!!

Finally I could across the bridge and could see beautiful seance!

I got Yatsuhashi which is famous sweets in Kyoto for myself and coworkers!
I love it :)

Nighttime in November

I don't  go out at night so often because I don't drink usually...
But I could enjoy nighttime this month!

One night, I visited Nanzenji Temple to see colored autumn leaves.
The garden is illuminated at night and it was so beautiful!
There were much less people than I expected so I could be able to relax.
Just sitting, seeing the garden with no-mindedness was a luxurious time.

The other night, went to Nijo Castle.
They hold an event called "Art Aquarium" at night.
It is a fusion of goldfish and art, and also tradition and innovation.

I just surprised that there were so many kinds of goldfish!

       Isn't he cute?:)

Tenjuan, Nanzenji Temple is lit up until the end of this month and the Art Aquarium is exhibit until the 14th of December.

Autumn colour in Jingoji temple

The best season for autumn leaves!!
I visited Jingoji Temple (神護寺) in Takao area.
Many trees were ablaze with autumn colour! What a beautiful place it was!!
Today, November 24th is the last day for the illumination in the precincts. However, we can still see the illumination around the approach to the temple until November 30th at night.

*Illumination along the approach to Jingoji and Takao bridge
 - Time 17.00 - 20.00
 - Until  November 30th

You can visit Jingoji by using city bus or JR bus from Kyoto station, Shijo-Omiya, or Karasuma-Shijo.
*From Kyoto Station
 Please go to Shijo-Omiya, taking JR bus from Shijo-Omiya to Takao (高雄)/Makinoo (槙ノ尾・栂ノ尾).
*From Karasuma-Shijo
 Please take City Bus #8 from Karasuma-Shio to Takao.

I had a wonderful time for autumn-leaf viewing : )

Osaka Hana Hostel Food Map!

Osaka is famous as food!
Don't mistake to choose a restaurant!

We recommend you several restaurants which we have been at least once.
Okonomiyaki, takoyaki, kushikatsu.....!! You should try all!

I made a food map as shown above. But not only these,

there are many good restaurants in Osaka!!
We hope you find your favorite one!

A Tuna filleting show at right in the heart of Shinsaibashi!!!

Hello !
Hideko here again : )

I love sushi and I know most of you tried Sushi in Japan but have you seen a show of a tuna filleting ???

I recently discover this restaurant called 'Jinen'
one branch is just 5 min walk from Osaka Hana Hostel.

Every Tuesday and Friday night, they do a show and you can see it before your eyes, huge tuna is cut to each parts and going down to just a bone.......

its worth a try!!!

Fending off the cold

I have finally got myself a heater before I become frozen. One thing that has become clear after turning on the heater is that the house I am living in right now is really cold, with room temperature not so far below that outside. At this time of the year, the heater display shows the temperature as 5 or 6 degree Celsius. I am sure it will go below zero one day, and I may find my cup of tea frozen inside a glass. I can't help feel envious when my colleague told me the usual room temperature she sees on the screen - twelve or thirteen. Even after setting the target temperature at 20 degrees, I find to my horror that the heater manages to bring it only up to 15 degrees at most. Perhaps I need to buy myself one more heater? Let's see. Despite the limited prospects of my heater's ability to fend off the cold, I do look forward to first snow here in Takayama. Looking at the weather forecasts right now, I think I have to wait a bit more. Maybe early December, I hope? I will definitely give everybody
an update here with photos when the city turns white!