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!!

I was so hungry…




I went to Kibune to eat lunch.
It is a very wonderful region where a very famous Shinto shrine of Kibune Shrine is here, and a lot of restaurants and Ryokan in the surroundings.
I went there as usual by my bike. And, today’s my enjoyment is a Nagashi Soumen.
Have you try Nagashi Soumen? Do you know soumen?…



Some restaurants offer sōmen served in the manner of “flowing noodles” in the summer. Flowing Somen is called "Nagashi Sōmen" (流しそうめん, "Nagashi Sōmen"?) in Japanese. The noodles are placed in a long flume of bamboo across the length of the restaurant. The flume carries clear, ice-cold water. As the sōmen come down the flume and pass by, you pluck them out with your chopsticks and then dip them in a container of tsuyu. Catching the noodles requires a fair amount of dexterity, but the noodles that aren't caught by the time they get to the end usually aren't eaten, so diners are pressured to catch as much as they can. A select few luxurious establishments put their sōmen in real streams and the diners enjoy their meal in a beautiful garden setting.




This is Nagashi Somen’s photo …Nn? This is only my right hand.
I’m sorry I couldn’t take Somen’s photo。Because I was crazy about eating it.




This is a photo of other guests. It's A Japanese ' Fu-Ryu' !!

That was more than I expected.


Hello.

A couple of days ago, I went to Kyoto Imperial Palace with my Italian friend. There is a tour with an English-speaking guide two times a day, 10:00 and 14:00.
At first, you need to go to the office in the palace to book it. (You should be there at least half an hour before the tour starts.) To be honest, I didn't expect to see amazing things there, however, once I went inside, the Palace was more beautiful and interesting than I believed!! Amazing gardens, architectures in Japanese-aristocratic-style etc. etc. What impressed me the most was the painting on the sliding doors there. You can see some elegant paintings that are defferent from what samurai liked. The paintings in samurai houses are more dynamic and powerful. But at the Palace, the paintings are from the scenes of aristocrats' poem reading, their play on the pond and so on.
Anyway, I went to see them after I visited Nijyo Castle where Shogun(the boss of samurai) lived, so that I noticed that difference a lot! Please visit the Imperial Palace and enjoy Japanese-aristocratic atmosphere!!

J-Ghosts

Summer is the season of ghosts (yurei in Japanese). Japanese children like yurei stories very much and they tell their "hidden" yurei story to each other in the humid summer nights. Sometimes they go to dark and creepy places such as a graveyard or a old temples and and walk throught the darkness one by one or two by two to compete their bravery.
A typical image of a Japanese ghost is this:

Typical image of a Japanese ghost

They have no leg, the hands hanging loose in front of the chest, eyes with an up glance and they usually have a piece of triangular white cloth on their forehead. Sometimes some fire balls are flaring around them. When a man (woman) die with having some regrets, the restless spirit becomes a ghost (yurei) and he (she) descend upon people. I have not met yurei yet but some of my friends says they have seen it. Believe it or not, invisible yureis might be murmuring behind you "Urameshi-yaaaaa .....

Paper cranes

Paper cranes

For the coming peace day August 6th,we have been having a campaign called "Join the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony" by folding thousands of paper cranes at J-hoppers Hiroshima. I haven’t counted the exact number of it but I think now we have about 300 of them.

When you go to the peace memorial park, you will see lots of paper cranes.

Why is that?

It’s because we believe if you can make 1000 of cranes or more, your wishes come true especially when it comes to recovering from diseases.

There was a girl whose name was Sadako Sasaki, she was the one who was wishing to make thousands of paper cranes to survive for leukemia caused by the A-bomb.

However, sadly, her wish did not come true.

Following her belief, we make paper cranes and put it in the peace park. It is brought from all over the places in Japan and even other countries.

We had a wonderful present the other day. The sender was a guest who stayed with us for a few nights with her friend. She was passionate about memorizing the way of folding paper cranes. She was also worried about if we will be able to make “thousands” of them.

She sent me a box just before she’s gone back to the U.S and when I opened it, WOW there were 308 of colorful paper cranes!!!!

She was a teacher in Tokushima and she said she made her students to make them and also she had a class of thinking about peace and Hiroshima with John Lennon song (Of course “Imagine”J).

How nice of her, we are all glad about it!!

Thanks a lot Geneva!!!

So, now we have about 600 of them.

When you come stay with us, please join our campaign;)



If you want to know more about Sadako Sasaki, visit the website below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadako_Sasaki

Countdown J-Hoppers Osaka - Vol.1

Opening a new J-Hoppers Hostel in Osaka

Having a trouble with finding a backpackers hostel in Osaka?

We are planning to open a new backpackers hostel in Osaka within this year.
Cities in Kansai region you know is only Kyoto? Osaka is the heart of Japan's second largest city and traditionally considered the "nation's kitchen" (tenka no daidokoro) or the gourmet food capital of Japan.

It is located just only 10 minutes walk to Osaka terminal station, which has all kinds of accesses such as JR line, Hankyu line, Hanshin line and subway. This location should be a base point for travelling to lots of sightseeing places such as Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji and Wakayama.

You can easily visit Shinsaibashi, Namba and Nipponbashi by subway, also it would be good access to Kobe or Himeji castle.

The property is five story building with rooftop terrace that you can view cluster of high-rise buildings. You could feel urban air here.

Not only updating the opening process, but also we introduce lots of attractive places to view and sightseeing information in Osaka on Tag cloud "Osaka Count down".

Summer is there !

Oh yes it is ! 32 degrees today, felt like 40 according to weather forecast ... As the cicadas began to sing, it was the sign that the rainy season was over and sultry days arrived. For us it was the sign of something else too :


Hey what's happening here ? Another typhoon ? An earthquake ?

Don't worry, everything's fine, we are just removing all the kakefuton (the upper layer of the futon) to avoid overheating to our dear customers ! We are washing and drying all of them, on the burning rooftop terrace it takes only few minutes ! Then we will put them in bags made tight by air vacuuming it.



Instead we are replacing them with light covers :



We are sure you will appreciate it. And there is still air conditionner in every room. But don't forget to use it reasonably, with the view to economize electricity, to have consideration for environment, and even for yourself, your body surely won't appreciate strong temperature differences !

The festival I Love.



Konbanwa!!

Last night I went to see the most amazing festival (in my personal opinion...) in Kyoto.

They call it KANKOUSAI and it's one of the Gion festival.


About 2 weeks ago, they put 3 gods at Yasaka shrine in 3 portable shrines.

The 3 gods stayed in a different place for a while and they brought the gods back to the shrine.

Usually, you might find Japanese are shy or quite, however, at this festival....

You see how excited they are!!


Those portable shrines are quite heavy, so that people need to change turns to hold them up.

They say '' haisa haisa'' to cheer themself up and it makes the atmosphere very lively!!

Some of them have got bleeding shoulder because they hit themselves with the portable shrines so hardly in carrying them.


After 3 portable ones arrived the shrine, a ceremony to bring the gods back there is held.

The monks at the shrine turned off all the lanterns...

You hear the sound of the Koto harp...

Several monks come out from the shrine and go where there are 3 portable shrines to accompany the gods to the shrine.


I can't explain it very well but it IS sacred!!


Please coem back to Kyoto to see it.

It does worth seeing.

morning walk

To get to J-Hoppers, I enjoy walking south along the Honkawa river from Yokogawa JR train station. It’s a leisurely 35min walk that provides a scenic views of Hiroshima .

In the spring time,

the roads are alive with many people who come to see and celebrate the cherry blossoms.

In the summer time ,

there are new green leaves.

In the autumn time

the leaves turn hues of deep red

In the winter time , the snows falls lightly. It lools so pretty.


Japan’s four seasons are very distinct, each offering different and unique cultural experiences.

So if you wish to stay with J-Hoppers Hostel try to come by this walkway to enjoy the delights of these sights. We even provide bicycle rental service, a great way to see the city.

Speaking of summer ...


Speaking of Japanese summer, we can't talk without SUIKA (watermelon).
My image of summer is that "eating suika sitting on veranda wearing yukata hearing buzzing of cicadas being bit by mosquitoes.

My other images of summer are :

>> Hanabi (Fireworks)
>> Hiyashi chuka (cold Chinese-style noodles)
>> Koko yakyu (Highschool baseball games)
>> Bon-odori (Folk dancing events)
>> Beer garden
>> Yudachi (Sudden rainfall in the late afternoon)
>> Obake (Japanese ghosts)

Except the last one, you can easily try and enjoy in Japan
(Even for the last one, you may be able to experience at night somewhere like cemeteries).
Any one must impress you greatly as a unique feature of Japanese summer!

Osaka Tenjin Matsuri


One of the most exciting summer events in Osaka is the Tenjin Matsuri that is held annually on July 24th and 25th.

This is one of the three major festivals in Japan, which has history of over 1,000years. It was originally a festival held by the Osaka Temmangu Shrine.

The festival is celebrated in various costumes parading through the town, more than 100 boats going up and down the river.

And a beautiful fireworks will be set off in the sky on July 25th (Wed) between 19:00-21:00.
You can see how a lot of people of Osaka cooperate to put together this big festival.

You can see how they are dancing on this link.

Hiroshima Carp


Hi there!

We had a guest from Chiba who is going to the baseball stadium to support the Hiroshima Carp.

I don't know much about baseball. But I'm glad when I hear that someone is a Carps fan.

The Hiroshima carp was established as a professional baseball team as part of the reconstruction process after the devastation of the atomic bomb.

The team is named after the fish, carp because Japanese people consider carp to be strong, powerful and resourceful. The people of Hiroshima hoped to have these qualities.

Yesterday I heard the sound of the fan's cheering when I was crossing a bridge at the peace memorial park.

I felt happy hearing the sound knowing that we have peace and the many who perished and are buried beneath the ground can also rest in peace.

Machiya



Hi!!

Some tourists said that the traditional houses in Japan were ruined...

However, do you know there still is a type of traditional house called Machiya in Kyoto?

Machiya or merchant townhouse is generally narrow at the entrance and extend way back from the street.

That's because taxes were based on the width of the property during Edo period(1600-1867 ).


Recently, there's a movement to keep Machiya as it is.

For example, some young people opened restaurants and shops at Machiya.


To know more about Machiya, please refer this site;





Yukaya

Please look at the photo above. Yes ! it is me. How are you doin’ ?
This is my first letter to this J-Hoppers blog.

Typhoon No.4 has left Kyoto.
Kyoto is in great bustle because of the Gion festival.

I go to Gion festival with my new yakata(summer wear in Japan).

Not only I but also a lot of people enjoy Gion festival with their yukata.

There are a lot of events and performance worth your seeing in Gion festival.
Especially today, I am looking forward to watch Iwami Kagura at Yasaka shrine (Iwami is my home town). Do you know about Iwami Kagura?
It is my recommended event!!
In ancient times it was a dance performed for the enjoyment and appeasement of the gods, but since the Meiji era it has been handed down more as a variety of folk entertainment, for the amusement of the people, than as a sacred ritual. Clad in rich colours, performers dance through the night to distinctive rhythms with elegance and bravado…

Please use the link about Gion festival information.
http://mirahouse.dyndns.org/~mira/kyoto/gion/index_e.html
See you on Gion festival!!

Japanese curry

We had a Japanese style curry dinner night tonight in J-Hoppers Hiroshima.
When you come to Japan, please try Japanese style curry. The easiest way is to go to the restaurant. Most "family restaurants" or some cafes which serve lunch have Japanese style curry in their menu. If you eat out, I recommend CoCo Ichiban-ya curry restaurants. It is a nationwide chain and you must find at least one in major cities.





You can also try cooking in a hostel which has a kitchen facility. It is very easy to cook (That is why I often hold the curry dinner night for guests). I have found a good page for Japanese curry recipe. Please see this. Did you see? As written, it is one of the easiest food to cook as long as you get "curry roux" in the supermarket. There are various choices for curry packages. If you like it, you can buy some more for suveneirs.

Origami Lesson

It rains these days. Typhoon No.4 is about to leave Japan, but the other ones are coming to soon. I hope they are not as big as No. 4. It's annoying to go out in the rain(I don't feel like singing but crying). So that we have had the Origami lessons these days. Oh my Buddha. Don't you know Origami? The lessons are held irregular. Please ask at the reception if you are interested.

Typhoon N. 4

It's heavy rain here in Hiroshima today, and there is good reason why. A big typhoon is approaching ! It's allready made big damages in Okinawa and will probably be here tomorrow afternoon (saturday 14th). It's going or will go through Kyushu, Chugoku, Kansai and Kanto areas. Let says nobody will escape from it ! So if you plan to be in one of these areas these days, please keep in touch carefully with weather forecast. Planes, ferrys and maybe trains schedule could be delayed.
To check the position of the typhoon, use this link : http://www.jma.go.jp/jp/typh/ and click on the map to enlarge. It's written in japanese but I guess you will understand ! The red circle surrond the area of 25m/s winds, the yellow one the area of 15m/s winds, the white dot line follow the previewed movement of typhoon for next hours.
At last all the J-hoppers are of course strong buildings and will keep you dry and safe whatever the weather goes ! ;-) And we have a lot of books and games to keep you busy until sunshine comes back ! :-)

After Raining


Hiya!!
It has just started to rain in Kyoto.
However, I imagine how beautiful it would be when the lotus bloom after a rainy night.
It's said that there's a small sound when they bloom.
I hope to hear it at a temple, in front of a pond, in a complete silence.

There are some places ( temples) in Kyoto to have that opportunity.
Do you also fancy to see them and hear that petit-cute sound?

Koto Concert in Hiroshima

There will be a concert of Koto for foreginers (of course Japanese are welcome too) in Hiroshima next friday, the 13th of July (hope you're not superstitious). It will be perform by Sakaki Kimie at Live Rakuza.

A good reason to come to spend you're week end in Chugokuken !

Entrance fee : 2500 yen with one drink
From 19:30


A Living Symbol of Kyoto


The sun is bright. The air is humid. Sweat is running.Here comes summer. Time for matsuri (festival).
There are tons of matsuris in Japan, and most of them are taken place in summer. This might be not neccesary to tell, but, in case you do not know about it. One of the biggest and worthful festival, Gion Matsuri, is held in July (Yes. It's already started on 1st July).
The origin of this lively matsuri can be traced back to the early Heian period (A.D. 869), it was a matsuri to stop a series of devastating plagues. As time goes by, Gion Matsuri took in many different styles such as musicians, dances, comic plays, and artistic treasures and hokos (floats) got heavier with them. The heaviest float is amazingly 12 tons !! The floats are made of wood and they built up without any nails, tied toghether with only ropes. Watching local people set up a float in a sweat should be very interesting. You might see 3 generations, a grandfather, a father and a son, take part in the biggest festival in Kyoto.

Tanabata

Hi everybody !
Here comes my first message on our brand new blog !!
There is a lot of various things to do when you work in a guesthouse. It makes this job really interesting. But today I've made a very special one : gardener ;-p Look at that :




This is a bamboo straw for the tanabata celebration. Do you know tanabata ? It's an old legend about two lovers. She was called Orihime, the weaving princess, and Hikoboshi, the beef keeper. They've been punished by Orihime's father for their laziness and sent both side of the milky way. Now we can see them as altair and vega stars. Once a year, they are allowed to meet each other thanks to the magpies building a bridge with their wings over the milky way. To celebrate this event Japanese are used to stick on bamboo straws wishes and origami.
I've put the first wish and origami, but they feel a little bit alone. What will you come to write and fold to stick with ?? :-)

Unagi

Unagi is Japanese eels. This is one of my favorite food. When you come to Japan, please try it. You must like it. We can buy unagi everywhere. Today I bought one at depa-chica (on the basement floor of a department store). It was 1800 yen for one, which is kind of good one. You could buy some cheaper at a super market (around 700 yen is the cheapest range). At home, we put unagi on rice and put sweet soy sauce that is attached with unagi. That is all. Very easy. We call this Una-don. Some add sansho pepper powder but it is not necessary. Normally you can cook 2 una-dons
If don't want to cook by yourself, you may go to a Japanese restaurant. You can order a una-don about 1000-2000 yen.