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!!

Are you a Starbucks fan?

Dear Starbucks Lovers!

When you are tired of traveling in foreign countries, You need to eat/drink something you used to eat/drink, don't you think?!

Here are some cooooool Starbucks in Kyoto.
 

Karasuma Rokkaku Starbucks

604-8134
Kyoto Rokkakudori-Higashinotoin- 254Donomaecho
Nishiiru Nakagyo-ku Kyoto

You can enjoy seeing detail of the hexagonal temple with your coffee.

 

 

 

 

Sanjo Ohashi Starbucks

604-8004
Kyoto Nakagyo-ku Sanjo-Kawaramachi-Higashiiru
113 Nakajimacho

You can enjoy the murmur of the Kamo river stream and early summer breeze!

 

 

To be honest, their coffee is pretty expensive for me and I want to support small local coffee shops :P 

 

 




It was Happy B-day to meeeee!!!!!

It was my birthday on April 30th.
I had a party with my friends on 29th at a lovely restaurant and we had a party here at Fukuoka Hana Hostel and went to karaoke with our wonderful guests and my friends!!  That was happy fun days and I really appreciate that they spent time with meeeeeeee!!!!!!  Luv ya all!!!!!!

Trip to Fukushima!!

Hello, this is Nao from Q-beh!

I went to Fukushima last month.
Actually, it was my first time to visit there.


In Kitakata city:)

The weather was so nice! Even though I haven't got sunburn in Okinawa last month, I got so much in Tohoku instead :D
It was perfect timing for cherry blossom.
I've never seen such a gorgeous street of weeping cherry trees.









Katsudon in Aizu! It was soooo delicious.
I had many delicious food during this trip.



I was really excited to visit Aizu.
Because I love Bakumatsu era (late Tokugawa shogunate era), I wanted to visit since I was a high school student. 
Once, Aizu had to be one of big battle places.
They had many victims by the battle even among women or children to dedicate to their leader(Matsudaira Katamori) under Aizu Domain's rules...
Tsuruga castle was badly broken then.
Now it's very beautiful and peaceful place, so you can't imagine how hard the place was.
They had sad memory in the history before and again had to suffer from the severe disaster 4years ago...

However, I found out people in Fukushima are really strong and kindhearted.
Now I think they are more friendly and like chatting than people in Kansai! :D


See you again Fukushima in near future*°



Do you like to play a video game??

Hello :)
This is Haru from Osaka Hana Hana Hoste.

Do you like to play a video game??
If you like, I would like to recommend very interesting Bar to you.
 
Space Station
https://www.facebook.com/SpaceStationOsaka

address: 2-13-3 Iwamura Bldg 2F Osaka 
OPEN: 8:00PM to 5:00AM
Price: Range(500yen~)





















Osaka Hana Hostel has already recommended this bar to our guests.
But unfortunately, I didn't have experience to go there...
Because I'm a new staff.
So I went to this bar with staffs of Osaka Hana Hostel.

Normally, I don't play a video game but... I was really excited this night!!

This bar is very funny.
Bar is not so big but Space station has a lot of video games.
Nintendo, PlayStation, Wii, SUPER Famicom...you can play all video games if you buy a drink!!
We don't need a table charge!!

We had played MARIO KART by Wii U and we lost all concept of time :)

Do you want to go there??
Maybe you will lose track of time playing a video game like me!!

After all the cherry blossoms have fallen...


Japan is a country of Sakura, or cherry blossoms. Everyone looks forward to seeing Sakura in full bloom every year and a lot of people, both Japanese and foreign visitors come to Kyoto to view beautiful blossoms from the late March to early April.

Along with falling cherry blossoms, the crowd is gone and the city regains it's equanimity. Sakura is definitely one of my favorite flowers and I feel a little bit sad every time I see falling petals. Although having said that, I actually love this time of the year between Sakura season and humid summer time. Because 1) I love fresh green color, 2) it's usually nice weather and  3) I get to see various beautiful flowers.

The other day I went to see Fuji flowers (Wisteria) and Shibazakura (Moss phlox) at a local water and sewage plant.They open their garden to public for just a few days a year.
 

It was absolutely amazing to see the contrast of elegant purple of Fuji flowers, vivid pink of Shibazakura and green maple leaves. They were just stunning.


Fuji vines climb by twining their stems either clockwise or counterclockwise round any available support. They can climb as high as 20 m (65.6 ft) above the ground and spread out 10 m (32.8 ft) laterally.





Sakura is beautiful, but I personally find the elegance and gorgeousness that Fuji flowers have comparable.  




Farewell, winter in Hida Takayama


If I were in Hong Kong, I would have finished writing this ages ago. But here in Takayama, the winter is long, but thankfully, lovely. Even now, in early May, you feel chilly in the early morning and at night, and I have yet to put away my gasoline heater for fear that cold spells might catch me unguarded sometimes. And quite outrageously, we got snowfall even in early April this year when I was about to put away all my winter clothes, ready to embrace the long-awaited spring season. With the cherry blossoms in the city center having almost shed all its petals, blessing us with sakura shower, and the sun coming out more and more often to greet us, I can safely assume that spring is here (or maybe even summer, as the temperature sometimes goes up to around 27-28 sometimes!)..

After the cherry blossoms are gone, the next thing to look forward to is see the new leaves coming out, decorating the dull brown landscape with bright green color. Before the summer is upon us, I would like to take this time to reflect on my first winter in Takayama. Despite its almost unanimous unpopularity among the locals, I must say I love Takayama’s winter. Please allow me to defend my viewpoint before you start booing, throwing paper planes or stones at me, or kidnap me to the North Pole.

Winter is bitterly cold here, this I am not going to deny. I am definitely getting the brunt of the coldness here considering how poorly insulated my house is. That aside, I think I like every bit of other things of winter here in Takayama.

The biggest appeal to me is none other than the snowfall, enough to paint the landscape romantically white but not so much to block your entrance or bury your house, or bring the whole city to a standstill. And it is convenient to venture to more snowy regions to satisfy your occasional appetite for heavier snow, or even blizzard, if you are crazy. In terms of temperature, Takayama is also well-placed, in my opinion, as it does not rise too much above zero during winter so that the white landscape is more long-lasting, but not too low to totally discourage you to go outdoors at all. It also helps that Takayama is surrounded by mountains so that it seldom gets very windy. Coastal regions like Kanazawa does get a lot of snowfall during winter, but because of the relatively high temperatures there, the snow will also be gone pretty quickly after snowfall, and they get quite a lot of rain even during the winter season when the temperature is not low enough. And the snow they get is more often than not wet, and is easily reduced to disgusting sorbet-like state after being stepped on. While in Takayama we get relatively more powder snow, which is very lovely and comfortable to step on if you must forgive my kinkiness. This is one of the weird things I like to do during winter. Whenever there is fresh snow, I always look forward to stepping on the snow carpet, if the snow manages to stay on the ground, and enjoy the sound of my boots stepping on the snow, as well as the touch of your feet being supported by the snow after sinking a bit inside the snow.

I also like walking in the snow, with or without an umbrella. Unlike rain, snowfall falls silently, and during the night, even stealthily. When you are inside your room, without looking out the window, you never know whether it is snowing or not, unlike raindrops, snow does not beat on your rooftop and windows. So there is always an element of mystery and anticipation, and I will only know what is in store for me outside when I open my door or look out the window.

Fugu~~!!

Hi, this is Nana from Hakata!
The weather finally gets nice and I feel so comfortable today.
I wish the weather stays like this forever, but I'm already feeling that summer is coming very soon...
One of our guests already got sunburn... Oh, no... I am not ready for hot summer yet!!!!

Last week, I went to Shimonoseki.
There is a fish market called Karato Ichiba which is about 15 to 20 minutes from Shimonoseki station.




On the weekend there are some events. The day I went, there was Sushi sale going on.
Very fresh sushi were sold for good deal.
I had some sushi and fried Fugu (locals call it Fuku).

After I enjoyed my lunch, I wen to the place I always wanted to go: Hinoyama Park!
I did not think the park was that high!! From the top of the park, the view of city and Kanmon Straits was so beautiful!






From Hakata, You can take both JR train or buss to get to Shimonoseki, takes about one and 40 minutes to two hours.

Live and Let Die

Hi there, this is Yukari from Kyoto Hana Hostel.



Do you know what is the best part of working in the hostel?

I'll tell you, it's ...



Cleaning!



This is how we clean for the reference :p











What is meant by “Hana yori dango”?




Hello! This is Ena from Hiroshima Hana Hostel.
As you know, Japanese people love Sakura (cherry blossom) .
I am also one of them.
(Not only Japanese but also a lot of foreign people come to Japan to see them in Spring.)

Since I was NOT in Japan last year, I was looking forward to seeing them very much.

This year I went to many parks to see Sakura and every time I took pictures of them and every time I had Dango (Dumplings) there.
Then my mother and my friend said ` You are Hana yori Dango !`
It means I am a person who enjoy the eating rather than the cherry blossom viewing.....

Sadly, the season of Sakura already has gone in Hiroshima...They were absolutely amazing !
I am looking forward to seeing them NEXT SPRING !



Sakura Mochi 
(Rice cake wrapped with Sakura leaves)
I made it last week with the leaves we can see now on the Sakura tree branch:)





Furano in Hokkaido!!

Konnichiwa!!
I'm Nao(kanchan) from Osaka Hana Hostel :)


I went to Furano in Hokkaido 2weeks ago.
It was so fun to go to secret hot spring and enjoyed delicious food.























Furano is getting famous for foreigner, too.
The best season is Summer!!!
You can see beautiful color of nature everywhere.


There are also so many activities you can enjoy such as rafting, canoeing, air ballooning and fishing!!
You never get bored there :)



Are you otaku?

Do you know about otaku?
Otaku is a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime, video games and manga fandom.

Nowadays Japanese anime is popular over the world such as One Piece, Dragon Ball, Gundam, Evangelion, Attack on Titan etc...

So otaku culture became world famous and many otaku people over the world come to Japan.

If you are otaku and come to Osaka, you should visit  "Den-Den Town"
 "Den-Den Town," Nipponbashi is known for its many shops which specialize in furniture, tools, and "otaku" interests such as electronics, animation, manga, and collectibles. Nipponbashi is often compared to Akihabara Electric Town, its equivalent (in terms of focus) in Tokyo.

And I recommend the store called "sofmap zaurus1".



It's a huge store that have varieties of action figures and plastic models.
 This is a paradise for otaku!!





And it's all TAX FREE!!!



Their business hour is 11am~8pm.
It's walking distance from Namba station.

Check their website here!
http://www.sofmap.com/tenpo/topics/exec/_/id=shop/-/sid=nanba_1

Tateyama kurobe alpine route open!!

I went to Tateyama kurobe alpine route








It takes 3hours drive from Takayama to Tateyama  which is a starting poing of  Kurobe Alpine route. You can go from both sides (Tateyama or Ogizawa)


Route is known as the Roof of Japan. The route passes through the dynamic scenery of Mt. Tateyama in the Japan Alps. It is traversed using a variety of vehicles with an elevation change of 2400 meters from Toyama Prefecture to Nagano Prefecture.


It was open 3 days ago.I went there with our guests.

It was sunny day so that we could take nice photos.

The highlight of this trip was snow wall in Murodo on top of the moutains.

The height is 19m.It was amazing!!

You can see this snow wall until June.

Kurone Alpine route is open until Novemer.

yachimun!!

Hello, this is Nao from Q-beh.

I just came back from my vacation for 9days.
I visited Tokyo and Okinawa for my trip this time.
Most of the days were rainy though, I really had an awesome time.
 
Shisa:D Okinawan lion statues
 
In Okinawa, it was one of my purposes to buy "Yachimun" pottery.
Yachimun is Okinawan traditional pottery.
I was impressed with Yachimun when I visited Okinawa last year.
 
Yachimun master!!
 
There are many pottery studios at "Yachimun no Sato" in Yomitan Village and also at "Yachimun Street" in Naha City. 
Each studios has typical design.
So it's fun to find your own favorite studios there:)
 
Even though they have been keeping the traditional way of making Yachimun, it seems the design is matched with the generation. So it's getting popular among young people!!


I've got two lovely souvenirs for myself.
Every time I use them, they will remind me of many nice memories in Okinawa:)
 

New staff

Hello! This is Tomomi from Hiroshima:)
 
These days we have a NEW staff member at Hana hostel.
His name is RYOU and he comes from Sendai (Miyagi prefecture).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
He will stay at Hana about one month as a free accomodation staff.
Free accommodation staff means that Ryou helps us to make your stay at Hana a remarkable and fun experience and for that he can call Hana his home. 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
He is having the cheering goods of the Carps in the picture, but actually he really loves football (for our American guests: soccer ;)). 
Ryou has even visited Brazil to attend a World Cup game! And he has been a backpacker, visiting 28 countries. 
 
Ryou can only be in Hiroshima for a month, but we hope he will like Hiroshima and we will have a great time together!

I had wild bear meat.....!!

Have you tried wild bear meat???

There is a restaurant named "Takachiyo"

It is located in Gokayama (between Shirakawa-go and Kanazawa)

and the owner is animal hunter!

So you can try some kind of rare meat.

You can see the menu...wild bear, wild bore,

wild pheasant...and so on...!


















I ordered "Wild Bear Sashimi" and "Wild Bear Hot Pot"

Sashimi was chilled meat, when I put it in my mouth,

it smelled like nuts, because bear has nuts a lot!!



















Wild bear hot pot was sooo yummy!!

It was bit chewy, but didn't smell at all.

You can try local tofu is called "Gokayama-Dofu" as well.

It is harder than normal one and very filling.

After Hot pot, you can order "Zosui" (Rice Soup)

It makes you warm!!!!!!

I had a great time there with locals.

"Takachiyo" 

They have English menu!!



Japanese Style Wedding Ceremony

Hello from Hiroshima Hana Hostel, It's Kana here.
Did you enjoy Sakura in Japan?
Unfortunately weather was not good in Hiroshima, so Sakura couldn't last long here...But still was so beautiful as you can see the attached photo.


Have you ever seen Japanese traditional style wedding ceremony?
I attended to it last week for one of my best friend in Fukuoka. She got married to the man from France.

This is a Shinto wedding, held at a shrine... In this setting, the bride is usually dressed head-to-toe in white.
Should you be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a Shinto wedding procession passing by, you might even think you have been transported back in time!

 
 Both family wore Japanese traditional Kimono for wedding and it was just so awesome.


All the family from France left comment on their kimono which is

”Can't breathe.!”

Please try beautiful Kimono in Japan when you visit here! There are some place where you can rental it!

お花見 Cherry Blossom in Nagoya Castle


While Cherry blossom in Takayama (usually 2 weeks later than other kansai area) is approaching us, I took a chance to visit my old friend in Nagoya and the Nagoya Castle in late March.  Luckily, it was a perfect day to see the sakura in pale pink with the super clear sky.  The castle has 7th floors and there is an elevator to reach 5th floor and the views from the observation point is amazing.  Don’t miss it!  In the cherry blossom days, Nagoya Castle has celebrations with street performances and also traditional Japanese food stalls.  During weekends, it was so crowded to take a picture without tourists!!!  After all, I still enjoy my first hanami in 2015.  However, Nagoya not only has the castle but also a number of yummy cuisine.  I especially love trying the food with limited edition (期間限定) for instance, the crème puff with cookies and cream, Sakura chocolate drink, strawberry pie etc.  Nagoya is just about 2.5 hours bus ride from Takayama and it is definitely a nice city to visit during day off!!





Sakura ... i hate it but i love it

Hi everyone it's Saori from Gion Ryokan Q-beh.

Spring has sprung ! Cherry blossoms put Kyoto into a good mood. People see sakura as festive, nostalgic, aesthetically pleasing or simply a good excuse for a party. Everyone wants to be out under the trees and take pictures of the fleeting beauty of the blossoms.

I hung out with my friend from Malaysia yesterday to enjoy sakura trees at Philosopher's Path which is a pleasant stone path through the northern part of the city. The path gets its name due to Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan's most famous philosophers, who was said to practice meditation while walking this route on his daily commute to Kyoto University.
 

It was PACKED. Literally "packed".
 
It was so crowded that it took us a while just to find each other. We heard different languages and camera shutter sounds all around us. It was no longer a quiet path that a philosopher can take a walk and contemplate.

Please don't get me wrong, the path looked still  with fully bloomed beautiful sakura. It was just a bit too crowded to appreciate the blossoms as much.

 
Luckily, I suddenly remembered about a secret path with sakura trees only some locals know while we were having ramen after we turned into a side street. It wasn't too far from Philosopher's Path. I am not going to tell you where exactly it is because I'd like to preserve some nice places for local people to enjoy..

The petals of sakura flowers were swirling around just like snow flakes. I felt like I was day dreaming. I think I love sakura and early spring despite the crowd after all...




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.