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!!

Sushi-Go-Round

Which Japanese food do you like the best?

Me? Of course, Sushi if I have to choose one. I must apologize if you are a vegetarian or a conservationist of animal, fish or the environment. But I cannot help eating sashimi (sliced raw fish), even if being blamed by someone. In my opinion, we Japanese are awfully fond of eating raw meat. A guest from U.S.A. and his occupation is a chef was very surprised when I told him that we eat chicken raw. He insisted that person eat it must get stomach trouble. There is a restaurant that you can eat raw chicken nearby J-Hoppers Kyoto. I will bring you to there if you want to try.

Anyway, please try sashimi or sushi while your visit in Japan, it must be different from you have tried in your country. Don't be afraid of speaking Japanese. You don't need to order what kind of fish you want to eat at belt-conveyor sushi restaurants, all you have to do is pick a plate you like and convey sushi into your mouth.

KINTAI-KYO

Hi! How are you?

I went to Kintai-kyo(bridge) with my friend last week.

It takes about 1 hour and half from my house by car.

I haven’t been there since I was child.

Kintai-kyo is a bridge in the city of Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture.



The bridge was build 1673.However the third and fourth arches were washed away by a big tyhoon, 1950.

And 1953,after two years work, the Kintai bridge reopened.

The town around the bridge is small. But it is artistic and traditional.

It takes about 30min from Miyajima Island by train and bus.

So I recommend it as a 1-day trip with Miyajima Island.

We spent half day at Kintai-kyo.

There is a ropeway to the top of mountain behind the town.

We ‘d love to have taken it but we couldn’t do it because we didn’t enough time….L

But we had a great time there anyway!!

Countdown J-Hoppers Osaka - Vol.5

Entertainment in Osaka
As you may know, the most popular amusement park in Osaka is Universal Studio Japan. But there are some other kinds of entertainment places in Osaka.This time let me introduce them.

1. Universal Studio Japan
This exciting theme park brings you the magic of movies!Have you already enjoyed Universal Studio in other country?Here are listing of attraction for only at Universal Studio Japan.

-Animation Celebration



-Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic

-Snoopy's Sound Stage Adventure

-Snoopy's Playground


-WiCKED



2. Umeda Joypolis - Game Park

You probably have seen a penny arcade at downtown in Japan. Did you find a high tech game you have never seen before? Joypolis in Umeda created by Game maker Sega, this theme park features eight high-tech rides that are all very entertaining and original.
Admission is JPY200 for adults. If you ride the Ferris wheel on the roof of the building, admission is free. After the admission fee, each ride costs JPY500 or JPY600, though there are cheaper combo passes. A pass for all rides is JPY2,200 and a pass for three rides is JPY1,400. There are many arcade games throughout the place.

3.KAIYUKAN - Aquarium

Located in Tempozanspan, an area facing Osaka Bay. The aquarium constitutes part of the Tempozan Harbor Village, which also includes a hotel, restaurants and shops.They are exhibiting about 35,000 aquatic animals (about 580 species).Visitors can observe various living creatures on land,in the water and on sea bottom, while descending a sloped spiral passage. By doing so, they can enjoy the thrilling experience of a diver exploring marine nature.
Visitors who wish to have deeper knowledge of exhibited animals and plants can participate in a guided tour of the aquarium. During the tour, participants can hear interesting explanations, including episodes in the breeding of the animals and plants. (Reservations are necessary for participation in this tour.)


4.Tennoji Zoo

One of the largest Zoo in Japan. Located in Tennoji. They keeps animals of about 330 species, including lesser pandas and polar bears. They demonstrate how animals and nature are interrelated, by recreating actual habitats of animals. admission fee is just only JPY500. You may see animals you have never seen in your country!!

A tip of Japan hitchhiking


Have you ever tried hitchhiking?

Well, actually I haven't...

The other day, my friend from Kyoto came to here by hitchhiking.
He gave me some tips of hitchhiking in Japan (hum...I guess it's the same thing in the world...).

If you have certain destination, first you should get a road map to figure out which road will take you to there. And get a cardboard and pen to write the direction you want to ahead.

If you want to take shorter way, go to service area/rest area on express highway.

My friend told me that it was easy to get a ride on a truck. Just talk to drivers in the service area to ask where they go.
Why it's easy? Becaseu usually they've got some spare room in the passenger seat and alos there is a sort of bed behind of it.
He said the bed was a little nasty,though...lol
Sometimes you have to help them to unload thighs from the trunk, but it's an experience don't yo think?

Of course, if you speak Japanese it makes your trip much easier!

Have a good ride:)

Stag beetles

Stag beetle (left) and beetle (right). Both are male

One of Japanese children’s fun in summer is catching and keeping beetles and stag beetles. I used to go into mountains and take some kinds of them by digging root of oak trees or looking around the tree sap. Keeping many stag beetles is kind of status symbol of children and we would show the small pets each other. Wikipadia says stag beetles inhabit mainly in
Asia, especially in warmer area. So they may be uncommon for Americans or Europeans. We have now some at the lobby of J-Hoppers Hiroshima hostel and you can see them.

Goblins (Yokai)


A lot of goblins and monsters had existed old times in Japan.

We call them “yokai” and they are different from “yurei”, which I introduced in this blog last month. Yurei seems more realistic (many Japanese still believe that they exist) but yokai is thought as imaginary creatures.

Actually there are many numbers of Yokai and I will introduce some of the most popular ones.

Kappa >>> Live in the river and like Cucumbers. He(she?) has a plate on the head.

Rokuro Kubi >>> Female yokai. She has a very long neck.

Bake-neko >>> The cat is more than 100 years old


If you are interested more in Yokai, the following two websites may tell and show you something more interesting.

List of legendary creatures from Japan (Wikipedia)
Most Japanese yokais are listed and you will know the feature.

Yokai zukushi
A lot of yokai pictures. The site is written in Japanese but please just click the name. Various kind of yokai will appear. I am sure you enjoy this

I think, in old times, Yokais must have lived everywhere in Japan. However, today’s japan is too light and too noisy for them to exist. Stores and bars are open all night and we don’t have any inconvenience even though we stay up through the night.

Nowadays we have too little darkness in our life. The today's civilization has kicked the lovely Japanese goblins out of the town. As the same way, yokai (= darkness) living in our minds may also lose the way to escape. I think it is important to leave some dark part in our life to keep our mental balance. Otherwise all the yokais inside us may rage to kill ourselves.




UMESHU



Hi! How are you?

It's extremely hot at the moment.

I feel as if I'm going to melt.......:(

I often drink a little Umeshu with ice after work and before I go to bed on hot nights like these.

It helps me forget this heat:)

Umeshu is a Japanese alcohol drink made from Japanese UME (plum),sugar and shochu or sake.

Umeshu has a mild, fruity flavor that makes it easy for anyone to drink!

My mother used to make it at home.

Umeshu is ready to drink 6 months after the plums and sugar have been mixed together.

When I was a child, I used to taste the UMESHU after just 1 or 2 month to check whether it was good or not.

Of course it was sour and awful.

I’m looking forward to drinking it tonight, too!

Have a good night!!

Esperanto

← L.L.Zamenhof and the flag of Esperanto


Bonan tagon!! Kiel vi fartas? ( Hello!! How are you?)

Two french tourists stayed at J-Hoppers Kyoto a couple of days ago. They told me they participated in the congress of Esperanto in Yokohama. Do you know Esperanto? It's a widely spoken constructed international language. Esperanto itself means ' One who hopes'. This language was created by L.L.Zamenhof about in 1887. He wanted to create an easy and flexible language as universal second language for peace and international understanding. It's not the official language in any country, but between 100000 and 2 million people speak it. For me it sounds like a bit of italian and of german and I feel some latin language in it. I was really curious about Esperanto and I asked many questions about it to those French tourists. I do believe it's a good idea to try to learn some languages in thinking about world peace and better understanding in International community.
Dankon! ( Thank you!)

Take me out to the Yakyu game


2 days ago, I went to Hiroshima Baseball Park and watched CARP vs GIANTS. The park is a 15-minite walk from J-Hoppers. Our Carp beat the big Giants by 6-3. You can feel the atmosphare from the link:


If you are going to stay in one of those cities, you can watch a baseball game easily.

Sapporo -> Fighters
Sendai -> Eagles
Chiba -> Marines
Tokorozawa -> Lions
Tokyo -> Giants, Swallows
Yokohama -> Baystars
Nagoya -> Dragons
Osaka, Kobe -> Buffaloes
Nishinomiya -> Tigers
Hiroshima ->Carp
Fukuoka -> Hawks

*From Kyoto, you can go to Osakam, Nishinomiya and Kobe by local train

If you don't have any favorite team and you don't know the rules very well, it would be nice to have a seat in the outfield bleachers of the the first-base side. A private cheering group of the home team should be there and you can yell for the team with a lively atmosphare. They beat drums, sing players' theme songs and enjoy simple dancing together. You can easily join them and feel kind of togetherness. Also, an outfield ticket is cheap (around 1500 yen).

Normally a night game starts at 18:00 and it takes about 3-4 hours. As foods and drinks in the park are expensive, you would better buy some before.

Go North !!



Amanohashidate is located on the Tango Peninsula in the northern part of Kyoto.
It is a sand–bar, 2.3 miles in lengh and about 566 feet in the maximum width, and is coverd with some 8,000 pine-tree. It is said to look like “ the Green Brodge to Heaven .” It is famous as one of the three most beautiful spots in Japan and is croweded with many tourists all year round.


Yesterday I went to there. I felt so nice !! It takes three and half hours from J-Hoppers (by local train) .There is much more comfortable than the Kyoto city. There is a nice beach. The breeze is very pleasant !! No big building, and no traffic jam!! If you plan the day trip , I recommend you Amanohashidate!!

Count down J-Hoppers Osaka -Vol.4

Towers in Osaka

Since Osaka is the second largest city of Japan and used to be historically the commercial capital of Japan, there are a lot of high-rise buildings.
These Osaka's landmark buildings makes a great lookout point. Please enjoy a night view from the observation deck.

1.The Umeda Sky Building
Located in the Umeda district of Kita Ward. It consists of two 40-story towers that connect at their two uppermost stories, with bridges and an escalator crossing the wide atrium-like space in the center. The escalater ride is an event in itself as it feels like you are floating up into the sky.


2.Tsutenkaku
It means "Tower Reaching Heaven". It is located in the Shinsekai district of Naniwa Ward. The total height is 103 m. It's not so high tower but very famous as a tower of symbol in Osaka. The neon lights is especially colorful.


3.The Osaka World Trade Center Building
It's located in an artificial island of Osaka Bay. This is the second-tallest building in Japan. The 55-story building rises 256 meters. A transparent elevator can take passengers from ground level to the top in just 80 seconds. The building houses trade offices for companies around the world.


4.Osaka Business Park
It's a huge business area right next to Osaka Castle Park lined with 15 high-rise buildings. The height of these buildings are designed intentionally applox 150 meter, it's quite beautiful from the view of Osaka Castle Park


See more photos for skyscrapers of Osaka on this page.

Not neon at night

Hello.
There will be the event that I really like tomorrow.
It's called '' Gozan no okuribi''. At this event, bonfines are lit to light the way for the souls of our anciesters to go back to their world after the yearly visit to the world we live in. The fires are lit on the five mountains, in the shape of Chinese character,' dai'(big), Myo, Hou. The other ones are in the shape of ship and the torii gate. I adore this event because you can see it only in Kyoto and it's kind of romantic to see those fires at night instead of seeing artificial neons. Please come and visit us tomorrow or even next year!!!

Hostel on Beach

It's burning hot these days in Japan, isn't it?
I am sweating everyday for 24 hours, and moisture in my body is evaporating every moment.
I really want to dive into the sea and soak up water into my body. Otherwise I'm going to be dried.

In my J-Hoppers days, I was asked about a beach around Kyoto many times, and wasn't satisfied with my answers. I have recommended Shirahama beach in Wakayama Prefecture. But there is no backpackers hostel so that a day trip is only the way to go there.

A change happened in last June . A hostel set up there [nima Guest House] The owner of the hostel is a girl and she has been to J-Hoppers months before. It takes 2 hours and half from Kyoto. It could be a long time, but worth going there. You will see a country side of Japan, and find many differences between people live in the sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. You can get there all the way by JR. It shouldn't cost if you have a JR Rail Pass. Visit them if you have a time and travel differently from the other travelers.

Street car of Hiroshima

Hi!!

Since early August, temperatures have been above 30 degrees in many parts of Japan.

Today, I came to J-hoppers by tram.Because it was too hot to walk.

I think ,the highest temperature today was 35.

The tram I took was very unusual.It was a recreation of a tram used in the Taisho Era.

The traditional trams had open windows so of course It was a little bit too hot .But It felt great to have the wind blow on my face.

Many trams run in Hiroshima.

You can go to many special place's in Hiroshima by tram.

For example Hiroshima castle ,syukkei garden,Hiroshima city, Miyajima Island and more.

If you buy a one day tram ticket(840yen).

You can use the tram all day and also take the ferry to Miyajima Island.

Fireworks

Shin has already spoken about it, summer in Japan is THE good place and season to see fireworks. A lot occured yet in Kyoto area and Hiroshima too, but if you've missed them don't be sad, there is still a lot to see.

One of the most important in Hiroshima area, if not the most, will be held tomorrow (Tuesday, 14th) : the Miyajima Firework. Imagine one of the three most beautifull scene of Japan illuminated by rainbows of fire !!! It will start at 19:50, and last one hour, juste behind the big tori.

Of course I advice you to go there very early, in the afternoon, and to keep in mind that boats will be overcrowded. Get prepared to wait several hours, if not all the night for the following day's first boat, in the middle of hundreds others people !! It happened to me for the water screen event ...

For more information : Miyajima Tourist Information Center 082-944-2011

Hiroshima peace day


On Aug. 6th, we had annual ceremony for the A-bomb victims.

Lots of people fr
om all over the country attended. This year, when I woke up it was raining which was fairly unusual for this day. Most of time, it's sunny and very hot with annoying buzz of cicadas.
But once the ceremony started, the sun appeared just like every year.

I watched the ceremony on TV and
offered a silent prayer. "The peace declaration" by the mayor of Hiroshima city and "The commitment to peace" by the children's representatives were very moving.

In the afternoon I went to the peace memorial park to float lanterns on Motoyasu- river.
A number of people jumped into the river and died in thirst and burnt.
To comfort the spirits of those people, we write messages on lanterns and float.

It was absolutely beautiful as you can see in the picture above.

Seeing those lanterns with message and also tons of people who were praying for peace, I felt a huge something gather together in this one place. I thought with this huge power,world peace may come true one day.


Thank you very much for those who joined our peace campaign by folding paper cranes.
I did place your paper cranes near the Sadako Sasaki statue in the park.
They can't keep it forever but in stead,they gave me a piece of paper to write about who made this, what's our wish and so on. They will keep our name in the permanent file.

(Hope you can see "J-hoppers Hiroshima" on the tag!)

Flowers in the Sky

Have you ever seen fireworks festival in Japan? Probably you have played with them or seen some in your countries. But the one I went to the other day is not the same as you imagine at all. This is the Japanese summer. I hope you see one of fireworks festivals during traveling in Japan or buy and play with them. You will see many kinds of fireworks sold in Japan. Click the image on the left side to see my video.

Countdown J-Hoppers Osaka - Vol.3

Shopping in Osaka

Osaka has a large number of shopping areas to choose from. You can enjoy a variety of shopping as below;


1.Dotonbori
It is a shopping and restaurant street, running along the Dotonbori canal,
A former pleasure district, Dotonbori is famous for its surrounding theatres, shops, and restaurants and the many colorful neon.
While Dotonbori is packed with interesting billboards and buildings, there are three main landmarks. These are all so funny!
-The mechanical drum-playing clown "Kuidaore Ningyo"
-Giant moving crab billboard "Kani Doraku Crab"
-The giant athlete is a symbol of Glico candy "Glico Man"





2.Tenjinbashi-suji shopping arcade
Tenjinbashi-suji stretches from the road approaching the Tenman-gu shrine and continues for 2.6km going north to south. It has all types of stores including commodities, clothing and catering outlets on both sides of the arcade. You might see and talk a friendly Osaka-no-Obachan (Middle aged housewife women who are outspoken, nosy but humane).


2.Nippombashi Den Den Town
Nippombashi Den Den Town is a shopping district in the Nipponbashi, famous for its wide variety of electronics stores, and especially famous for its negotiable prices.
Why don't you try saying "Mo-chotto Makete" meaning "discount a bit, please". Here could be the best area for getting hold of anime, manga and related figures. There are a huge number of stores providing a large amount of goodies for fans of anime or manga.



3.Brandshops
North-south Mido-suji and east-west Nagahori-dori Street. At the intersection, world-famous brand direct operated shops are lined up: Chanel, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, etc. In addition to these shops, there are lots of brand shops in department stores such as Daimaru Shinsaibashi Store and Shinsaibashi Sogo.


4.America mura
It's located at the west side of Mido-suji, This area is lined with used clothing and imported goods stores. You can feel artistic and energetic atmosphere of fashionable youth.


5.Yodobashi Camera
The mega-size electronics shop with all kinds of appliances located in the north of JR Osaka station. There is a floor for fashion stores, a restaurant floor offering Japanese, Chinese, Western, and others. Some staff can speak English.



6.HEP FIVE
This is a commercial and amusement complex with a huge red Ferris wheel, where you can find easily right in front of Osaka station. It's a wide variety of shops,153 in all, including GAP, SNOOPY TOWN SHOP, and DISNEY STORE.
The Ferris wheel will lift you 106 meters above the ground. You can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire city!

A charming city in central Japan

It was during "Tanabata" festival


Kyoto is the most popular city for people who want to see something traditional old Japanese.
I recommend Takayama city as well as Kyoto. If you have time, please visit.
I just dropped by there by car on the way back home (Hiroshima) from Tokyo. It is in Hida mountain region (North of Gifu Pref).


Hida-no-sato area (outskirts)



What I like for Takayama is the unity as a town. Both the city and the local residents are very much mindful of the "cityscape", which they understand as the most important tourism resource.

Quiet residential area


Once you go to Takayama, you would easily find the deference in cityscape from other major tourist cities of Japan. About cityscape, I always think Japan has to learn from the western countries. A key factor is how each resident in the community could have a sense of public spirit.

Tourist info office in front of the station


Anyway, when you still have time after visiting Kyoto and Hiroshima, please visit the charming small city in central Japan

From Nagoya
2.5 hours by JR local Express train (6070 yen)
3.5 hours by JR local train (3260 yen)


Yakiniku of Hida beef

Atomic bomb commemoration

Next Monday it will be the commemoration of the first atomic bombing in History. In Hiroshima will be held the Peace Memorial Ceremony including several events. If you can attend this ceremony, please do it ! For the peace in the world !

From 8:00 to 8:45 : the main ceremony will be held in front of the Peace Museum. Several personalities, including Prime Minister Abe, will make declaration.

At 8:15 : one minute of silence will be offered in memory of the victims of the atomic bomb

Until 20:00 : the Peace Museum will be open untill 20:00 to allow as many people as possible to come.

From 14:30 to 15:30 : Atomic bomb survivors will share there testimonies in english at the Memorial Hall of the Peace Museum

From 9:30 to 17:00 : There will be guided tours inside the park and around the atomic bomb dome (gathering places are near the atomic bomb dome or under the west building of Peace Museum)

From 9:50 to 17:00 : concerts and conferences will be organised everywhere in the park, paper crane exhibitions will be held and tea ceremony organized in the rest room

From 18:00 to 21:00 : floating lantern will be offered to the river from the atomic bomb dome. You can bring your own lantern or buy one for 600 yen

Furthermore on this day most of the museums and cultural places will be exceptionnally open

For more information contact the International Exchange Lounge : 082-247-9715 / golounge@pcf.city.hiroshima.jp

May Peace prevail on Earth

Useful website 2

And if you're staying at our Kyoto guesthouse you won't be in lack of good recommandations either. There is a famous website called "Kyoto visitor guide" which you could also get as a free monthly paper magazine (of course we have it at J-Hoppers). This magazine is full of interesting places to stay, visit, eat, do shopping, ... and they publish every month the list of almost all the events occuring in Kyoto. It's well done, it's needed, it enhances your trip, ... and you may see some of my pics inside ! How could you miss it ?? ;-)

Useful website

If you have some time, please check this website before you come to Hiroshima.
It's called GetHiroshima.

This website is running by a foreign guy who lives here for years.
He has been doing a great job, because it has so much information to make your Hiroshima life more fun!

It's classified by types of information, such as "Events" "Places(restaurants,nightlife,movie theater etc)""Hype""Cinema""Forums".
As for the places, you can take a look at reviews which were written by people who actually went there. I'm sure it helps you to choose which bars you want to go tonight ;)

If you are thinking about to live here, check the "Forums". You may be able to fine a job or place to live!!

They also make their original map, take it with you for sightseeing and exploring.
(You can take it at J-hoppers Hiroshima)

Okay, here is the link
http://www.gethiroshima.com/en

SAIJO-CHO


Hi!!

I went to my grandfather and mother's house with my family and Mi young(Hiroshima staff).
Their house is at Saijo(西城)-cho(north of Hiroshima)between Okayama,Tottori and Shimane perfecter.



Saijo-cho is known for the Hibagon.
Hibagon is the Japanese equivalent of the Bigfoot or Yeti.
He gained publicity in the media about 30 years ago in Japan.
My grandfather told me he saw Hibagon in the mountain behind his house when I was a child. I'm not sure if the story is true but I hope that Hibagon is somewhere in Japan even now.


These pictures are Jokyu -ji.It is a temple near my glandfather and mother's house.Miyoung and I napped there about for 2hour there.
Nobody came while napped. We had a quiet time there:)

Countdown J-Hoppers Osaka - Vol.2

How many sightseeing spots in Osaka can you pop into your head?

Although Kyoto is one of the major sightseeing place of Japan, it might be difficult for you to imagine the ones in Osaka.

I would like to introduce some typical sightseeing spots in Osaka including Hyogo on this section in addition to opening information.

Osaka Castle

It is one of Japan's most famous castles, and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi Momoyama period by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.


  • Osaka caslte museum (main tower) serves as a History Museum for Osaka Castle and it houses valuable historical materials. The Tower is furnished with the latest facilities to enable visitors to understand the exhibits. The view from ovservation deck is a great. You can try on Kabuto (samurai warrior helmet) on 2nd floor.

  • There are many kinds of facilities in Osaka Castle park such as Osaka Castle Hall, huge playgrounds for lots of sports and open-air concert hall.

  • There exist a variety of historic sites in Osaka Castle Park, including old structures which are recognized as Important Cultural Assets.

  • You can often see a performance of street musician on Sunday.

  • It is a popular spot for cherry blossom in spring.


-Open
9:00 am to 5:00 pm(Note: Last admission to the Main Tower is at 4:30pm.)
-Closed
December 28 through January 1
-Admission
Adults 600yen Children Free (A "Group Discount" is available for groups of 15 or more.)
-Transportaion
-Subway
Temmabashi Station or Tanimachi 4-chome Station on the Tanimachi Line
Morinomiya Station or Tanimachi 4-chome Station on the Chuo Line
Osaka Business Park Station on the Nagahori-Tsurumiryokuchi Line
-JR
Morinomiya Station or Osakajo Koen Station on the Loop Line
Oasakajo Kitazume Staion on the Tozai Line
-Related link
Officiacl website of Osaka Castle

What's next?