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!!

Basic but still splendid!!

Hi. Today I'd like to recommned you one shrine with thousands of Torii dates. You might have seen this shrine somewhere, though. It's called Fushimi Inari and it's the most famous of many shrines dedicated to Inari across Japan. Inari is the Shinto God of rice and fox is thought to be his messenger. Therefore, you'll find many fox statues at Inari shrines. Also, the countless torii dates are offerings by worshippers and the gates cover the hiking trails of the shrine. It takes about 2 hours to walk along the whole trail. I'm sure that you'll like walking through torii gates in the forest and you'll never forget that experience.

The House of Art

You are sick of visiting Temples and Shrines, aren't you ?
Needless to say about Golden Pavillion, Silver Pavillion, Imperial Palace, Nijo Castle, there are really great houses and gardens in Kyoto. BUT, don't you think they are so touristic ? There are a tons of peoples and you cannot spend your time freely, you have to pay attention passerby all the time. Besides, they are very old and you cannot feel sympathy with the person who build it....

If you feel like that, I recommend you to go to Kawai Kanjiro Museum. He was a potter and also sculptor and poet who lived the late 20th to the mid 21st centuries. He displayed his ability to the full. Unfortunately, he hasn't gotten any prizes in his life. Actually he was chosen as a living national treasure but he rejected and triefd to live one potter through his life.
Please visit the place if you have an interest in sculpture or ceramics. You will experience something different feeling with visting temples and shrines.


September 23rd is Fall Equinox Day.

It is one of our national holidays.

During on equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west.

Signaling the beginning of autumn.

It was extremely hot this summer.

It is still over 30 degrees now. So we don’t feel the beginning of autumn.

When we hear autumn, we think of autumn leaves, right?

Hiroshima is famous for autumn leaves. Especially on Miyajima Island.

There is MOMIJIDANI Park on the Miyajima Island.

Momiji means maple leaf and Dani means valley in Japanese.

This is a quiet park located at the foot of Mt.Misen, which is covered by an extensive primeval forest.

Particularly in autumn, The Park is perpetually filled with autumn leaves.

I often go to Miyajima Island. It is one of my favorite plaices of Hiroshima prefecture.

There are many placeless to see for tourists there:)

You should go there ever you come to Hiroshima:)

The temple on the 10 yen coin.

Have you ever seen Japanese 10 yen coin?
There's a quite famous temple called Byoudoin on one side. It was built in 1052 and people tried to realise the world in heaven there. In those days, the aristcrats were dreaming of going to the heaven by praying and by building the temples. At Byoudoin temple, there's one big buddhist statue called Amidanyorai in the centre of the temple.
The height of Amidanyorai is 2.5 m and it has got such a peaceful face. The sculpture on the ceiling above it is also splendid. In addition, there are many small buddhist statues around it. Some of them are dancing and others are playing music.

The aristcrats also tried to design the garden as the heaven that they were imaging. If you're tired of many tourists in the city centre of Kyoto, why don't you go there and have a look at the heaven that Japanese people were dreaming about 1000 years ago?

Internet cafes

I went to an internet cafe a few days ago.
It is, of course, a place to do internet. In addition to this, you can enjoy some other things in Japanese internet cafes.

First, most internet cafes are kind of complex with comics (manga) libraries. Usually they own more than 10,000 comics and you can read as many as you like. You can also read the latest magazines and newspapers as well.

Secondly, internet cafes are virtually used as an temporary accommodation. They have mainly two types of seat. One is open seats and the other is box seats. If you choose a box seat, you are brought to a small space divided by chest-high partitions. If you wish, you can sleep through the night. The space is quite small and it may be hard to sleep for people who are more than 180cm. But for other people, this choic ewouldn't be too bad because it is at lease a semi-private room. Some internet cafes have free shower facilities and you can borrow a blanket and a pillow. In addition to that, You can take free soft drinks by some kind of vending machines.

Actually it is kind of illegal business as they don't have a lodging license. However, if you don't have any place to stay late at night in a big city, taking this would be the final resort.

The rate of the cafe I stayed is :
After 22:00 >> 1770 yen for 5 hours
>> 3540 yen for 10 hours
Normal rate: 420yen /hour

Taishakukyo 帝釈峡

Isn't it an amazing view?

It's a natural rocky bridge in "Taishakukyo" East Hirohsima.
It takes only about 2 hours by highway bus from Hiroshima bus center(1880yen), then you can have this magnificent view.

This natural bridge was made by the action of water on karst tableland.
You can also enjoy exploring in a calcareous cave and touring on a boat.

Needless to add, it's a great place for a hike. You will see bright water in the river, verdant forest, beautiful flowers,whistle of birds and finest air!

These pictures were taken in spring time but from now the valley will be covered with autumn colour of leaves.
This place is very famous for it, so don't miss it out!!

Autumn is coming??

Hello. It's still very very hot in Kyoto even though we're already in September. However, in the evening we can see some dragonflies and we can feel cool breeze.

In autumn,the scenery in Kyoto is amazingly beautiful because you can see coloured trees everywhere and they make temples and shrines more attractive. Also, you can eat many delicious fruit, vegetables, fish ecc!! Today my collegues were eating sanma fish ( I don't love grilled fish, though.) and they were very much enjoying it saying ' Autumn is really good season to eat!' It's a pity that I don't like eating sanma fish, however, I'll love to eat other good vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins and Japanese chestnuts!!
Prepare to come and visit us in autumn!!! You'll definitely love this season in Japan.

Hiking courses in Hiroshima

I've been asked several times for hiking course in Hiroshima. As the city is surrounding by mountains it's quite fair to wish to escape in nature and reach some summits providing wonderfull panorama of the city and the Seto inland sea. Moreover I'm myself found of hiking and looked for some completely wild and unreachable places as soon as I arrived at Hiroshima.

Of course the first place to think about is Miyajima. Hiking courses there as well as access to the island are both simple and well indicated. But I would like to introduce you some more "secret" places.

The mountains at the west of the city, going to the south along the seaside down to Miyajima and farther, are really beautifull. For example the Gokurakuji Temple area (map google here) is fabulous ! Unfortunately, to go there you will need a car, or a bicycle and iron legs ! The Gokurakuji is higher than Mt Misen of Miyajima ... If you're not afraid anyway, farther to the south you may be interested in the Oono Nature Observation Center (map goole here) .

Toward the northwest you may find some interesting spot while going to see the Mitakidera Temple (map google here). There are some courses that goes around the temple in his bamboo forest. Mitakidera is really easy to access : go to Yokogawa station by tram, take train for 5 mn to Mitaki, walk 10 mn to the temple. By itself it's an enough charming place to justify the ticket cost. The hiking courses here are easy and short, and there is connection with others pathways to explore ... I guess some of them make connection with the Mount Chausu (map google here) and his giant white relay. That's the first hiking course I've discovered around Hiroshima, a very rocky and steep place ! From the top you can see both the entire Hiroshima and Saeki ward, as well as Inland Sea of course. From Hiroshima, follow road 265 up to Kokutaiji temple, less than 10km from Peace Park. In front of the temple you will find a very little stairway. That's the starting point to the summit.

At immediate north of Hiroshima station, still inside the city, the moon shaped Mount Ushita (map google here). Few minutes walk from the main station, it's the easiest way to escape in greenery from the city. And the south part has some attractive sacred places (in particular the Hiroshima Pagoda). But surrounding by the city there is a not so wild atmosphere that doesn't fit me...

I recently started to explore the east of Hiroshima. There I found a quite interesting place : the Fuchu city camping ground in the resting water gap forest (wow what a name !!! ;-) ) (map google here). Around 5 km from the main station, just follow the direction for Fuchu city, take road 272 and follow the river. You will soon be stunned to have reach such a wild place ! And Fuchu has also several funny places to see on the way to the camping ground. Just have a look to the tourist map near Takejinja Shrine. Once you reach the parking of the camping ground, take one minute to visit the information center. You can find there maps of the area and various informations. Then, you can choose betwen the road by car or bycicle, ot the pathways by walking. There is various places of interest everywhere inside the forest : waterfall, temple, momiji valley, summits, ... I reached recently the top of mount Takao, 426m. It's really impressive how wild is this place, with the downtown only few minutes away ! If you too you want to go there get prepared to fight with brambles, swamps, and a very slippery sandy ground. I came back with bloody legs covered with mud :-) . You will have some rocks to climb on the top, and I recommend a certain sens of direction as pathway sometimes disappears under vegetation. There is snakes too, and I found signs of deers or boars, but have seen none of them. From the top, the view leaves you breathless, even more than the one from Mount Chausu, in my personal opinion.

Ok, now it's your turn to give me some advice of new places to explore ! ;-)

Count down J-Hoppers Osaka - Vol.6

Performing Arts in Osaka
Osaka offers some performing arts, which are deeply rooted for Osaka people.

The modern name for the traditional puppet drama of Japan which developed in the Kansai region, particularly Osaka, in the seventeenth century. This performing art is registered as World intangible Heritages.
Sensitive performance makes you admiring!

The National Bunraku Theatre
This is the home of "Kamigata" performing arts - "Bunraku" puppet theatre, "Gagaku" traditional Japanese music, and other art forms. The theatre also contains bunraku exbition rooms and archivevs relating to the traditional performing arts.
-Subway or Kintetsu Railway Nipponbashi Sta.(Exit No.7)

2.Kamigata Kabuki
"Kamigata Kabuki" depicts human through gentle "Wagoto" love scenes. Since it should be a simple love story, I beleive you can understand the meaning of story.

Osaka Shochikuza Theater
You will soon notice the neo-Renaissance facade of this theater. Various theater arts such as Kabuki, musicals and concerts are put on here.
-Namba subway Sta. (Exit No.14)

3.Rakugo(traditional story-telling) & Manzai (comedy duos and comedies)
Osaka people love a hearty laugh. That's why in more recent times the Osaka-Kyoto area's unique style of entertainment, called kamigata, diverged into rakugo and manzai, two types of comedy, both born in Osaka.
Rakugo is a type of stylized comic monologue delivered by a single storyteller seated on the floor in front of a tiny desk. Manzai, on the other hand, is a vaudeville-like stand-up comedy routine put on by a pair of comedians. They are interesting, uplifting and funny. Rakugo, manzai and other comedic skits are performed on a daily basis at the Namba Grand Kagetsu Theater or Umeda Kagetsu Theater.

Namba Grand Kagetsu Theater : Namba on Midosuji Line or Sennichimae Line (Subway)
Umeda Kagetsu Theater: Higashi Umeda on Tanimachi Line (Subway)


                     the view from senko-ji

Have you been to Onomichi?
It is one of my favorite place in Hiroshima prefecture.
It takes about 1 hour and a half from Hiroshima station by Shinkansen or Local train.

Onomichi is located between the Inland Sea of Japan and the hilly spine of Western Honshu.
The town's main and almost sole interest is its agreeable temple walk with stunning views on the Inland Sea.
There are about 30 Buddhist temples in total. The most notable ones include Koumei-ji,
Senkou-ji, Tennei-ji and Jodo-ji.

The walk takes about 2 hours starting from Jiko-ji near the JR station to the Jodo-ji, and goes up all the way to Senkou-ji Temple. There is a ropeway (280 one-way) from the middle of town to Senkou-ji.

When we hear Onomichi(the name of the town), We think of ONOMICH RAMEN!
I often go there just to eat the ramen
It's very cheap (about \450 at any ramen shop) and served quickly.
If you come to our hostel,I will tell you a good restaurant to eat it in Onomichi!

I’m hungry so I feel like having it now:)

Anti-touristic Temple No.1

How many temples and shrines have you visited in Kyoto ?

You've been to Golden and Silver Pavilion, Kiyomizu Temple, Nijo Castle and Fushimi Inari Shrine, right? Those places are definatley nice. Everybody knows some of them are Unesco World Heritage siets.

However, do you want to make your trip something special ? How about throwing away your lonley plavet and explorering your own fun place? Here is one.

This is Senbonenmadou. The center statue is the King of Hell. He also acts the chief justice and tells which hell a dead people must go to. This statue is the second, it's made in 1488.

You will see a hundred of small stone figures of the Buddha behind of the main hall. Kyoto has 1,200 years hitory, so that you will encounter unknown stuff on every corners of the streets. Let me know what you discover if you have no idea abotu it.

Shukkeien Garden

You may forget that you are in the very central part of the city...

Shukkei-en Garden is one of the most famous gardens in Japan. It is made in the early 17th century by the lord of old Hiroshima Domain. It is said the garden represents landscape of Lake Xihu (West Lake) in Hangzhou, China.
The garden had a catastrophic damage by A-bomb as well as the other buildings. A lot of victims escaped into the garden and most of them died there. Their bodies got buried under the hill in the garden.
The garden was restored in 1951.

A short movie of shukkeien I took

The entrance fee is 250 yen, pretty cheap. You can get there by tram (about 20 minutes) from J-Hoppers Hiroshima Guesthouse. It may be a good idea to visit the garden to take time out to get a grip on yourself mentally after visiting the Peace Museum. It takes around 20-25 walk or 10-15 minutes by tram from the museum.

Right after the bomb

Some seasonal traditional events such as a moon-watching meeting or a tea ceremony are held every month. You can get further information at the reception of the hostel.

New items in dorm

Clip-on curtains and bed lights are installed in co-ed dorm rooms of J-Hoppers Hiroshima Guesthouse.

Now you don't have to make a frantic search for your passport in the darkness and you can write a diary after your roommates fall asleep.

Bed cartains are in the basket in each dorm. Please feel free to take it. Even though you have more confortable night, don't oversleep through the check-out time, please !

Living wittness running

No.652 one of two A-bomb tram cars

Do you know there are still 2 A-Bombed tram cars on the active in Hiroshima city? We call them Hibaku Densha in Japanese. If you see the tram No.651 or No.652, that's it. I also found a short movie of No.651 contributed on Youtube.
5 were survived and repaired to revert while most trams were destroyed by A-bomb. 2 of them got retired last year and only 2 are active still now.

No.651 -- 3 days after the bombed day
700 meters from the epicenter

They are, of course, old (wooden!) , slow and sometimes cause traffic jams (The max speed is about 35 km/h, Tyson Gay is faster!). It is interesting to see this type of old trams and the latest one are going on the same rail. Even though there are some inconvenience in rush hour, we should preserve one of the few "living witnesses" not in the transportation museum but in our real life.

New type tram "Greenmover".
The snobby fellow sometimes urges slow trams forward