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!!

Looking Peoples Traveling Kyoto

Finally, 2007 is going to end to welcome 2008.

I've been watching travelers who visit J-Hoppers Kyoto and talked about their trips. I always feel that I'm also traveling whenever I talk with them. I believe that it's the happiest moment to work at the hostel. I know it...... but, the smiles they showed to me when they talk about their trips drive me go to travel. That's true. I hope to go abroad the next year if it's possible because I'm used to be one of guests who visit J-Hoppers Kyoto.



A Happy New Year
Wish You Have a Beautiful Year !!

Let's go to SENTO!


Hi ! How are you?

There is a SENTO (dobashi-sento)around J-HOPPERS HIROSHIMA.
It is 1 min walk from J-hoppers.It is very close isn't it?

Do you know sento?

Sento is a type of Japanese communal bath house where customers pay for entrance.
Traditionally these bath houses have been quite utilitarian,with one large room separating the sexes by a tall barrier, and on both sides, usually a minimum of lined up faucets and a single large bath for the already washed bathers to sit in among others.

How to enjoy sento


please pay your fee here(bandai).






take off all of your clothes here.




wash yourself before you get in the bath.

Don't swim in the bath.....



You can buy the ticket at the reception (370yen)!

It must be a good experience for you!!!

Coffee in Japan

Hello!

I'm Nori, who is a trainee of J-Hoppers Kyoto GH now,
and I'll be a staff of J-Hoppers Osaka.
I'm really looking forward to meeting wonderful travelers there!


When you come to Japan, what do you expect?
Japanese food, nice people, historical places..
Yes, we have lots of amazing things.

On the other hand, what do you miss when you travel in Japan?
I met a traveler in Osaka before, and she asked me,
" Where is Star backs? I'm coffee holic!"

Yes,we have many Coffee shops which come from foreign countries,
and they're very popular and we also like them.
I know it's easy for them to go there, and feel like home.
However,we also have Japanese old style coffee shops.

Famous coffee shops in Kyoto;
1.Inoda Coffee shop
http://www.inoda-coffee.co.jp/index.html
2.Maeda Coffee shop
http://www.maedacoffee.com/
3.Ueshima Coffee shop
http://www.ueshima-coffee-ten.jp/


You can also enjoy breakfast there..
Why don't you try it for good experience while you're in Japan?

Happy T-Shirts!!

We're supposed to be in winter, but it's not as cold as usual here in Kyoto...I can't believe Christmas is coming very soon. Do you feel like putting T-shirts under your coat? I do recommend you to go to one T-shirts shop called Graniph!! Of course, they also sell long-sleeve T-shirts. All designs of their T-shirts are cute and they're seldom worn out. There are 4 sizes, SS, S, M, L. The number of desings is....many many!! If you'd like to show off your T-shirts when you take off coat, please pop in this shop and choose one!! The price for one is 2625 yen, but if you buy two of them, 4200 yen. Do you want to be fashionable by wearing T-shirts in winter? Why not??

Santa Claus in tram

Santa Claus in the tram instead of the reindeer sleigh ??

If you are in Hiroshima City now, you may see an glitteringly decorated tramcar in which some real Santa Clauses are waving hands with Christmas music..

It is an lovely event by the tram company.

A retro tramcar made in 1928, presented from Hanover, can work only during this term with the Santas.



The Christmas tram schedule:

Dec 22nd

17:00 Senda Depot --> 17:35 Nishi Hiroshima Sta.

--> 18:10 Senda Depot --> 18:50 Yokogawa Sta.

--> 19:30 Hiroshima Sta. --> 19:50 Senda Depot


Dec 23rd and 24th

17:00 Senda Depot --> 17:35 Nishi Hiroshima Sta.
--> 18:10 Yokogawa Sta. --> 18:55 Hiroshima Sta
--> 19:35 Senda Depo



I am not sure the Santa Clauses pay the fare of 150 yen. Of course you can not share the car with the Santa Clauses even you pay 150 yen.

stubby holders



Hi! How are you?
We sell 3kinds of stubby holders at the reception!
(miyajima,daruma,nippon)

Which design do you think is the most popular?
Miyajima takes the 1st place ,followed closely by Daruma.

Have you ever heard of BODHIDRAMA ?
Daruma is designed in the image of bodhidrama who was the buddhist monk traditionally credited as the transmitter of Zen.
Legend has it that for his training bodhidruma had sat on a rock for 9years.





In the picture of daruma on the top, both pupils are filled in,however most daruma paintings have only one pupil painted.
One fills in a single pupil while thinking of a wish,should the wish later come true the second pupil is filled in as well .

Wouldn't it make a great souvenir for your mates back home?

Staff's Recommendation


Today, we put new information papers on the shoe box at the lobby. It's " Top 3 places to visit in Kyoto" selected by me, Shogo and Yukako. We have a huge information board in there. But it only says events and festivals within few weeks. Please have a look it and find places that meet your preferences. Those places are not so touristic and essential, but fun and strange.

Small but special present!!

Have you got a small problem in choosing the souvenirs from Japan? When you come (and stay at J-Hoppers Kyoto), I do recommend you to go to Matsuhiro Shoten!! They sell many kinds of Japanese style coin purse and also small bags. You can use them as coin purse, or to put your digital camera etc. etc... They sell things usually made with Japanese style textiles. Even though you buy a lot of them, it would still be light to carry, so that it would be an ideal presents for your family or for your friends. The small purses are available from 600 yen. Every time you pay from the purse in your country, people will ask you ' Where did you buy it?' Think about it and please ask me how to get there at the reception!


Neighborhood map



After a few month of straggling, I finally completed our neighborhood map!

As I am not very good at using computers, it is hand drawing but I hope it will help your small journey around our hostel.

It is made by 5 categories; Restaurant (for sure!), Shop (don't you love shopping?), Bank/Post (you've got to have some cash!), Parking(for drivers!) and Hospital (you know, just in case!).


Our neighborhood is pretty quiet but still there are many small restaurants especially along the tram line street. Most of them are yummy and reasonable priced!


My recommendation is a Japanese cake shop called "Momijian"near by.
They have very yummy Japanese sweets. My favorite is Dango ( Japanese dumpling made from rice flour) .They have lots of flavors and it's soft, sometimes it's even warm, not too sweet and really delicious!!




It's been very cold lately and my body seems to need some fat to survive ;-) Haha!

Cultural shock in Osaka

Hello everybody ! Your favourite french is back on this blog ... direct live from Osaka. ;-p
I will help Yamaguchi San to prepare you a wonderfull new place to J-Hop' your trip !
There is still a lot to do here before opening but I've been really surprised when I arrived at J-Hoppers Osaka for the first time. I'm already convinced you will enjoy this new hostel. Actually I would like to be my own customer I guess ;-)
I've started to explore the neighbourhood and the shopping street where is located the hostel (very convenient). By the way I've you had a look at the neighbourhood map ? http://osaka.j-hoppers.com/e_neighbour.html ...
Yesterday I went to eat an okonomiyaki. "Eh ! Where are my sobaaaaa !!??!?!". Well, it's true, Hiroshima okonomiyaki and Osaka okonomiyaki are really differents. You have to eat both of them and compare yourself. The Osaka one is smaller, without noodles, covered by mustard, served with rice and miso soup, ... Finally is there something common between these two okonomiyaki ??? Cabbage and egg only ? (?_?) I had a good lunch but ... sorry obachan, I definitely prefer the Hiroshima okonomiyaki !!
Terachan, send me one by mail time to time onegaiiiii ! ;-)

Day trip to Nara

I'm thinking about going to Nara this weekend. Have you ever been there or heard of it? Nara used to be a capital of Japan (710-784). I'm going there to see the Giant Buddha!! I've seen it a couple of times but I'd still love to see it again! It's at Todai-ji Temple and the temple itself is the largest wooden structure in the world. The present temple was reconstructed in the middle of Edo Era (1603-1867) and it's only two-thirds of the original one.
The Buddhist statue was made completely in 752. The height is 14, 7 m. The Emperor Shomu wanted to make an ideal world that was admired in the Kegon Buddhism, so that he ordered to make it as a symbol of his ideal world. Can you imagine how hard it was for people to make it about 1200 years ago? You should see it anyway!!
There are many deer around Todai-ji Temple. Some of them might try to attack you if you've got something to eat... They're national treasure, so... please be kind and friendly to them!!

It takes only 1 hour or so to get to Nara from Kyoto station. It must be a good day trip during your stay in Kyoto!!

Oysters .....

We cannot talk Hiroshima winter without oysters.

Oyster is one of the most famous Hiroshima’s specialities.

Let me introduce some of good Oyster cooking.

1 Deep-fried oysters (Kaki furai)

2 Vinegared oysters (Sugaki)

3 ingredient for pot dish (Nabe-no-gu)


They are really good and you can easily have them in Izakaya restaurants.

One thing you have to be careful is, 0ysters sometimes cause food-poisoning.

Oysters have "Norovirus" It is safer for you to have cooked oysters instead of raw oysters

The virus cause terrible diarrheal, vomiting and flu-like symptoms. The incuvative period is one or two days and the symptoms would last 3-7 days.

I saw some foreign tourists who suffered from them llll

Raw oysters are very good but you had better avoid it if you don't like to change your travel plan.

So, please give up sugaki. Even you enjoy Nabe (pot dish), make sure oysters in Nabe are cooked enough (Too much boiling messes oysters taste, though ...).

Hiroshima vs ...

Hiroshima vs Kyoto



Momiji mannju VS Yatsuhashi souvenir confrontation!?


No... Do you find something in common between Kyoto and Hiroshima?

There are Professional football clubs. And their team colors are the same in purple.
'Kyoto Sanga' and 'Sanfrecce Hiroshima'

Sanga vs Sanfrecce

Of course I love Kyoto SANGA FC !!

On this season Sanga took 3rd place in J2(Division 2) and will head to the promotion play off agains16th place of J1’s(Division 1) team.

That's team is Sanfrecce Hiroshima !!

1st leg - Dec 5th (Wed) Sanga-Hiroshima @ Nishikyougoku (19:00 kick off)
2nd leg - Dec 8th (Sat) Hiroshima-Sanga @ Hiroshima Big Arch (16:00 kick off)

Be a big purple power of our Sanga F.C. when you are fed up with the autumn red leaves.

Hiroshima vs. Onomichi

Hiroshima and Onomichi are both port towns but they are very different actually.

Hiroshima is in the west of Hiroshima Prefecture but Onomichi is in the east.

The population of Hiroshima is 1.1 million and that of Onomichi is 150,000.

Hiroshima is the prefectural capital but Onomichi is a small local city.

Hiroshima was bombed but Onomichi was not.

Hiroshima has Okonomiyaki but Onomichi has Ramen.

Hiroshima is flat but Onomichi is hilly.

Hiroshima has a World-heritage but Onomichi has many temples.

Hiroshima has a good access to Miyajima Island but Onomichi is a base to travel Shimanamai Islands.

Hiroshima has J-Hoppers but Onomichi hasn’t.


Onomichi city taken from Senkoji Temple

Hiroshima City from Ryuo Koen Park


I love both towns. If you are visiting Hiroshima, please try Onomichi, too.

For tourists from eastern Japan, Onomichi is on the way to Hiroshima. There is a Shinkansen station, too (Shin-Onomichi Sta). If you are already in Hiroshima, it is also a good idea to make a day trip to Onomichi.

It is very easy for JR pass holders. For who doesn’t have JR pass, bus would be a cheaper way (2,700 yen for a return ticket) If you take a JR local train without JR pass, the cost is 1450 yen for one way (around 80 minutes)

Sayonara Hiroshima

My last post from J-Hoppers Hiroshima !
Yes, I'm going back home to Kyoto. Quite strange to say that for a foreigner actually but ... If you're looking for the french guy of J-Hoppers you will now have to book at J-Hoppers Osaka. I will join Yamaguchi San and Manabe San to prepare you a new wonderfull place to stay and discover the marvels of Kinki area (^_^)
What about my year in Chugoku area ? I've seen of course a lot of places and tried various foods or matsuri, among them here comes my ranking (highly subjective and controversial :-) ).
1) Miyajima Island. Number one of course ! I went there almost once per month !!! What did attract me there ? The famous Tori in the sea, one of the three most beautiful places of Japan. Don't think only about going to see it at low tide, it's also fun to reach it by foot at low tide. And do you what you'll find at its foot ? eh eh secret ... The Itsukushima shrine in front of the Tori. This one must be seen at high tide when it appears floating on the sea. Lot of matsuri here, check for that. Especially the waterscreen spectacle and the huge firework in august. Then the Daishouin, a really wonderfull temple atop the old village. Another secret ? Look for the little stairways that lead under the main hall of the temple ... and try to reach the end before being scared ! If you're a 'buddah in love' you won't have any difficulties. In the old village there is also a traditional artcraft museum which is quite interesting for such a little place. And the Miyajima aquarium has a wide range of funny fishes, and pinguin you can even play with or turtles you can feed. Except the village you can climb up the mountain either by foot, there is several course well indicated, count around 2h to get up and 1h and half to get down, either by ropeway, very impressive ! At the top you may see monkeys even if I've always missed them ... And finally on the opposite side of the island there are wonderfull beaches but you will need to rent a bike and merit them with few kilometers on a steeply road.
2 ) The Peace Museum and the Peace Park monuments. Of course too, unmissable. Emotionally very strong but you HAVE TO go there to spread the Peace culture all over the world.
3) Mitakidera temple. My favourite temple in the Hiroshima area.
4) Okonomiyaki. The delicious "japanese pizza" ! Egg, bacon, lot of vegetables, noodles (soba power ! forget udon ! :-) ), various topping, ... I will never be able to defend the Osaka okonomiyaki, the Hiroshima one is just so good !
5) Peace Festival. So sad but so important. Please go to hear the testimonies of A-Bomb survivors and transmmit what you've heard. The lanterns on the river at night, the Peace Declaration in the morning, ...
6) The Fuchu City Camping Ground in the Mikumari Gorge Forest. It's just so near from the main station, you have no reason to miss it if you're looking for some hiking in nature around Hiroshima. For example climb the Takao mountain and enjoy the wonderfull view on Hiroshima and the islands.
7) The Food Festival. So many good things to eat in this wonderfull festival in the Chuo Park. It introduces the local food and of course you can try a lot for free ! Go there with empty stomach is a better option ... ;-)
8) Shukkeien garden. The most beautifull garden of Hiroshima.Very unexpensive.
9) Hiroshima Insectarium. Quite uneasy access (look for a bus from the bus center) but the insectarium is quite wide and the butterfly room so romantic ... More over it's inside a huge park with several activities organized in summer.
10) Asa zoological park. Well organized, lots of animals and smart installation that let you get really near from almost all of the animal.
11) The chococro of St Marc Cafe. Well what ? Not Japanese culture, not specific to Hiroshima, ... ? Yes ! But anyway that's here in Hiroshima that I've discovered the top of the top of the croissant banana ! :-) I assume entirely what I'm writing :-)))
12) Sandankyo. A very entertaining hiking course in the mountain at west of Hiroshima. Not so easy to access but rewardable. The main spot of the area is said to be the three waterfalls. Personnally I had much more pleasure in walking the course than looking at these waterfalls.
13) Prefectural Art Museum. Allways a lot of interesting exhibitions...
14) Ujina Island. The easiest place to go to the beach in Hiroshima in summer. Perfect for a picnic too in case you don't feel like swimming in the Seto island sea.
15) Look at cherry blossom (Hanami) in the Peace Park at night. It's full of people eating on the ground under the pure white flowers ...
16) Garasu no Sato, the glass village. A glass factory that opens its door to everyone. You can even blow your own glass cup !!!
17) Fude no Sato, the village of the calligraphy brush. Here this is a brush that you can create yourself under the command of a real master. After you can see what you will be able to do of it ... after some years of training !
18) Gokoku shrine. The main shrine of Hiroshima, near the castle. Several matsuri here of course. I particularly enjoyed the one in January when they burn the past year omamori ...
19) Hiroshima castle. Surely not the most beautifull in Japan, but you still can enjoy viewing Hiroshima from the top of the castle, wear a real samurai armor, or learn some secrets about the construction of such a building.
20) Hondori. If you want to make some shopping you will find it here for sure.
21) Peace Museum Library. At the opposite end of the building. It's free of course and a good place to have a rest, read the english newspaper or even go on internet.
22) Veloce cafe. Chococro has a concurrent : chocoroyaru ! The cheapest coffee in Hiroshima and a wonderfull big chocolate bread full of butter !!!
23) Molly Malones irish pub. Well it's true I'm definitely not a 'party boy' but I went to this pub twice and I had good time there so ...
24) Shimanamikaidou. A road crossing the inland sea by jumping from islands to islands with 7 huge bridges. Do it by bike is a big challenge (80km) but you're so happy when you did it.
25) Hiroshima Children Science Museum. Dedicated to children of course, but you may still have some part of childhood inside you. And there is a small planetarium on the last floor.
26) Yuhua garden. Another garden in Hiroshima. A chinese style garden that suffers from poor maintenance. Go there to appreciate the differences of style.

A bientot, Pascal!!



Pascal is a french guy that you could meet at the reception of J-hoppers Hiroshima.
And he is leaving to Osaka J-hoppers soon ;-(
(Actually he seemed to be very excited about it!)

So, yesterday we had a farewell party for him!
We had a pot (nabe) with all guests who were staying on the night.
Nabe is a common dish in Japan in winter. Eating from one pot makes for closer relationships.
Anyway, if you are wondering what Nabe is, please refer the link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nabemono

I remember the first day that I met him here in Hiroshima...
Of course, he was able to speak in Japanese but not as good as he speaks it now, so that we had to speak in English sometimes.
But now, there is almost no problem to communicate in Japanese with him!
I can easily imagine how he made efforts to fit in the new culture and language. I think it doesn't matter if he likes it or not. You have to be tough.
And there are lots of differences between speaking Japanese in the daily life and using it in work.
I couldn't do it if I were in France!!!

Hum...I just wanted to say,
I am impressed with his efforts.

Merci et a bientot, Pascal!!

Bonne chance!


Red,Yellow sometimes Green

Hi!! I went to Nanzenji Temple the other day. I hadn't beed to this temple for 7 or 8 years... I was so amazed to see beautiful coloured trees there!! The leaves are not only red but also you can see yellow or sometimes green leaves in a tree.
I couldn't stop saying 'WOW!' The colours are vivid and just impressive.

I also walked through Philosopher's Path. I really enjoyed walking along a canal seeing red-yellow-green trees. I didn't think anything about philosophy..I was eating sweet potatoes I bought on the way to the Path.... Anyway, it's not too late to visit Kyoto to see these amazing places and to enjoy the autumn atmosphere yet!!!

Bonsai Lesson

Have you ever heard of Bonsai ?
Bonsai is the art of aesthetic miniaturization of trees by growing them in containers.....(Wikipedia)

I bought 2 pine trees and pots at Toji Temple Flea Market to make bonsai with a friend of mine who is an Italian guy. It was for the first time to him make a bonsai. He likes growing plants and flowers and has a strong interest in bonsai.


First, we mixed up 2 kinds of sands which are appropriate to for the pine tree, and then cut off excess roots (Do not cut off the main root. It'll be a fatal mistake). It'll be finished if you put the tree proper place in the pot.


Please ask me if you have an interest in Bonsai. Although I only know very basic things about it.....

Iwakuni besides bridge

Iwakuni is a small pretty castle town in east Yamaguchi Pref. Kintaikyo Bridge, one of the most famous wooden bridges in Japan is the highlight for the city sightseeing, but there are some more sights to see there.


1 The old town

The Old town are very well maintained and you can feel the atmosphere of Edo period. Some samurai houses are preserved and you can see inside the houses. The museum of the Iwakuni Lord are also in the old town and you can see some antique documents, art objects and weapons.

2 Iwakuni Castle

The castle on the top of the mountain can be seen from the old town. You can access the castle by cable car. Actually the castle is not the original one but rebuilt in Showa period.


3 Sakura tunnel (Cherry blossoms)

Iwakuni is known as a great sight of Cherry blossoms. Especially, the cherry trees on the road along the river make a beautiful sakura tunnel of 500 meters. If you visit Iwakuni in April, don’t miss it !


4 Momijidani Park

A former temple became the park with a lot of Momiji trees. The leaves turn beautiful red and yellow in Autumn. This is the photo of the entrance of the park I took 2 days ago.

5 Very rare White Snakes

There is a small museum in the old town and you can see them. The snakes is designated as a Natural Monument.

From Hiroshima city to there, please take JR to Iwakuni Station (45 min, 740 yen) and take a bus (20 min, 240 yen).


Hiroshima Illumination


Last Monday while coming back late at the hostel after playing igo I've seen the illuminations on the Peace Boulevard. Some of them are really impressive and they run on both sides of the boulevard from the Peace Park to the downtown.
It's light up from 17:00 to 23:00 and will illuminate the city until the 3rd of January. Of Course it's free !

So fiercily brave the cold and enjoy this faery. You will feel like it's allready Christmas !

Flea Market in Kyoto

There are some big flea markets in Kyoto, such as Kobo-san, Tenjin-san. Tomorrow, on the 21st November, there's Kobo-san Flea Market at Toji Temple. Toji Temple is close to J-Hoppers Kyoto. This flea market is held on the 21st of every month because the famous monk called Kobo Taishi died on the 21st. It had been held only one time a year, the 21st March for respecting Kobo Taichi, however, it's been held on the 21st, every month since 1239.
At this flea market, you'll see many street shops of food, bonsai, antiques, kimono and the things you've never seen!! If you look for cheap and nice kimono at second hand, this market is one of the best places for it. Also, if you'd like to find some unique souvenirs for your friends, please visit there!! Some shops start to be opened from 5:oo in the morning! I guess the best time to visit there is around 10:00.
It will be held Shimai Kobo (the last Kobo for this year) on the 21st December, so...please come visit us and Kobo-san!!

Kyoto Apartment

Please allow me to introduce our long term stay accommodation "Kyoto Apartment". We have been welcoming many tenants since Kyoto Apartment 1 started in May 2005.

And in this November, we made a success of new apartment, Kyoto Apartment 4. To tell the truth, the next one Kyoto Apartment 5 is coming to open soon though.














Dear guests who visit Japan, why don't you stay at Kyoto Apartment as your sightseeing bases ? It's very easy to go both Western Japan, Fukuoka and Hiroshima, and Eastern Japan, Takayama or Ise. The minimum stay is 2 weeks. All rooms and apartments are fully furnished. Rental procedure is simple. Feel free to e-mail us if you have an interest. Have a look the website first, please.

Let's try NATTO!



How are you?

What do you often have for breakfast in your country?
A couple of days ago,one of the staff at J-hoppers made Japanese breakfast for the guests (TARRO and PAUL)who had stayed here for about 1month as a present on their last of staying.

In Japan,we often have NATTO for breakfast .The picture on the right is the man who is having NATTO with keen relish.

Have you ever heard of NATTO?
NATTO is a very healthy food。Soy beans ,which NATTO is made of ,contain many kinds of nutrients,such as protein.
The only trouble is that NATTO smells very strong.I think It smells like a dust cloth......:(


However the Japanese have been eating NATTO since ancient times.
I grew up eating NATTO,so I like it.But If I were a person who has never eaten it before,I would say ‘I can't stand the smell of NATTO!!’
Anyway you should try NATTO If you come to Japan.If you feel it tastes good,You maybe Japanese !!

Miyajima Autumn

As of Nov 16, Autumn leaves in Miyajima Island are something like the photos. Momiji trees around the entrance of the park have turned red or yellow but it is not for the whole park. Maybe we have to wait one more week for the peak.

Other popular places for autumn leaves near J-Hoppers Hiroshima hostel are Mitaki-dera Temple and Fudoin Temple


Kyoto Sweet

Do you know something about Yatsuhashi?? Yatsuhashi is a kind of Japanese confectionary and it's a very popular souvenir of Kyoto. It's made from rice flour (Jyoshinko), sugar and cinnamon. There are two types of Yatsuhashi, one is baked and another one is raw. Baked one is really crunky. Raw yatsuhashi (It's called Nama yatsuhashi) has a soft texture and there's almost all the time sweet bean paste in it. Recently, there are many many kinds of flavour of raw Yatsuhashi, for example, Japanese chestnut taste, Sweet potate taste for autumn.
There are many shops that sell Yatsuhashi on the way to Kiyomizudera temple, so please try some and buy them if you like it!! You'll like them after two or three Yatsuhashi!!

Omiki お神酒

I was on duty in this morning.
I heard sound of a distant Japanese drum...
When I opened the door, 2 little girls were standing with Sake.
The sake is called "Omiki", it's from local shinto shrine festival to pray the prosperous business!

I was asked by them to drink Sake early in the morning!! HAHAHA

Why did they serve Sake???

It is said that, first of all, you can share the same thing (sake) with shinto gods, and second, to get drunk from it a little. This way you can feel the gods closer.

I get drunk very easily so I was a little tipsy from the morning! ;-)

Kouyou in Kyoto

It's getting cold these days. Signs of autumn and winter can be seen at here and there. Cold air in the morning, people in coats. (I'm always surprised when I see some guests in T-shirts only come to J-Hoppers though)

This coldness means that it's the busiest season for Kyoto. Yes, it's time for the season of autumn leaves. Someone who came J-Hoppers Kyoto said " I'm looking forward to seeing autumn leaves. I had come Kyoto last year but it was too early to see all leaves changed colors." I answered " I'm sorry but the autumn tints has just started a few days ago, so it's early for the tip-top."

I took a picture on the 9th near Heian Jingu Shrine. As you see, some leaves have not turned its colours yet. It's very difficult to say exactly the best time to see the autumn leaves. Everything is up to the weather, and the world has been experiencing abnormal weather. Please feel free to ask at the reception when and where is the best time or place to see the autumn leaves. Or there is a web page that gives information of the autumn tints , it's in Japanese though.