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!!

Living tram museum

This tram car came from Kyoto in 1970's


Many of Hiroshima city Tram.cars are originally from other cities or other countries. The tram company has bought old cars from other cities which tram lines became defunct.

Please see the following website:

http://www.uraken.net/rail/chiho/tetsu_hiroden.html

The site is written all in Japanese but you can at least see the photos. The tram cars are categorized with several types by the origin and the age.

Type 70 : From Dortmund, Germany

Type 200 : From Hanover, Germany

Type 570 : From Kobe

Type 600 : From : Fukuoka

Type 650 : Hibaku Densha (A-bombed tram) Blog for this

Type 750 : From Osaka

Type 1070 : From Takarazuka

Type 1900 : From Kyoto

It is interesting that many kind of cars from many areas and from various ages are active on the same stage of Hiroshima city. It is something like “living tram museum”. If you are a railway buff, I am sure you can enjoy this.

Charlie Darwin was here ...



He is traveling the world thanks to generous 'guides of a day'. Who knows from where he comes, who knows until where he will go ... ? At least he stayed at J-Hoppers Hiroshima last week, coming from South America, heading for some random place elsewhere in Asia. If you cross his road you can become his guide for a while. Just ask to the one who's taking care of him to let it to you, and pursue the chain, from hand to hand, from backpack to backpack, from countries to countries, ...

If you want to ask where he is now, send him an email !

charles.darwin.2007@hotmail.com

For autumn..

Hello. Are you thinking about visiting Kyoto this autumn? I'd like to reccomend you to visit another temple here apart from Enri-an temple that I wrote about a week ago. I guess this is one of the most famous temples for coloured trees in Kyoto. It's called Tofukuji-temple. It's not so far from J-Hoppers Kyoto and it does worth visiting!! There's an absolute well-known wooden bridge called Tsutenkyo there and we can have a great view of coloured trees from there.
At Tofukuji-temple, we could enjoy 3 colours of leaves, green, yellow and red during its best time. It might be very very crowded especially at the end of November, but it's must-visit temple for autumn!! If you miss green-zen-garden after a lot of coloured leaves, you can go to Hojyo-in inside Tofukuji-temple. This garden is also very unique but there are less tourists. For those who can not come to Kyoto this autumn...You don't need worry about it because this temple is beautiful also in summer!!

Enjoying new origami !

You surely already know about origami, these little piece of square papers folded to obtain flowers, animals, clothes, ... I've fold origami since I'm a child and always heard that the piece of paper must be perfecly squared. But I discovered last week it was wrong ! Actually you can fold diamond shaped or even round shaped papers... And I discovered that thanks to Keiko San who came to teach us how to realize these very special origami.



Keiko San masters several japanese traditional arts. For example the Nankin Sudare. She introduced it to customers of J-Hoppers few monthes ago. You can check that here on my blog (french only, sorry). I really wish you to enjoy one of the performance of Keiko San one day you will come to our guesthouse.



You can see above some of our production : the long wing paper crane (diamond shaped paper), the 'super deformed' paper crane (round shaped paper). And after non-square paper origami, we enjoyed the famous Tsunagitsuru. This is several paper cranes connected by the wings, the tail or the head as they are all made of only one piece of paper. For example the red and white couple you can see above was made from only one piece of two colors paper and are connected side by side by the wing. A beautifull symbol of unbreakable love... You can enjoy other examples of Tsunagitsuru on this webpage (in Japanese). Some of them can gather up to 97 paper cranes from only one piece of paper !! Even if it's only 97 it'}s called "100 paper cranes" meaning they are so numerous. Keiko San is making one for the Hiroshima Science Center. She made 48 cranes so far and hope to finish the 97 ones for the end of the year ...



Even Tabipon realized some "personal" version of the paper crane ;-)

By the way, looking for websites to link here I found something wonderfull : the oldest origami book. It has been published in 1797 in Kyoto and described 49 kinds of tsunagitsuru. You can see it integrally here.

Love nature? -Sandankyo 三段峡-



This picture is taken in Sandankyo in summer.
Sandankyou means 3 steps canyon and this is one of the representative tourist attraction in suburb Hiroshima.
It's a scenic beauty place accredited by the Japanese government. That means this place is protected by those random developments. You will see the pristine environment.


There are many beautiful water falls there. Sandan-daki(3 steps water falls) is the most famous one.

Especially in this season, you will see an amazing view with autumn leaves.





There is a trail along the river and there is also a nice suspension bridge!
The water is very clear and the air is very refreshing. You will meet lots of wildlife.

I started my hike from the very bottom of the trail and it took 5 hours to get out from it(one way takes 5 hours!!).It was already a little dark and I had no choice but to take a taxi to go back to the place where I parked my car. It cost a lot!!! ;(
So, if you are interested in hiking there ,I recommend you to go there in the morning and should check the time schedule for the transportation first.

Access: Bus
( Hiroshima bus center- Sandankyo 80-120min ¥1200(one way))

More pictures (Japanese only):
http://www.awane-photo.com/gallery/sandanky/


HIROSHIMA FOOD FESTIVAL 2007


The Hiroshima Food Festival will be held around Hiroshima castle on October 27th and 28th.
It is a 15min walk from J-hoppers Hiroshima.

27th (10:00-20:00)

28th (10:00-17:00)

kagura (shinto music and dance numbers) plays will also be presented on the 27th (for free).
It will be the 3rd time this festival will be held.
The event is highly successful,attracting more than 700thousand visitors from Hiroshima and other prefectures every time.

You can find and buy many kinds of agricultural and marine products of Hiroshima,and have a photo taken with a SAMURAI (not real) and Hiroshima castle in the back ground!!

Dad in Jidai-matsuri

Jidai-matsuri is one of the 3 biggest festivals of Kyoto. Briefly speaking, it is a big parade of historical costumes. Around 15 groups from each period for the last 1500 years take part in the parade. The festival is held on October 22 every year.

This year, my father (right in the photo) participated in the parade as a subordinate samurai serving General Kusunoki Masashige, who is one of the most popular samurais in Japanese medieval times. I was surprised to know that the person who performs him (Kusunoki Masashige) pays all the cost for his group of about 30 people. It is 2,000,000 yen ! He has to spend such a big money at the end of the hard work. A boss should need a lot of money no matter when it is …

Therefore, on the day, my father really enjoyed the parade of course for free. I hope he doesn’t start saying something he wants to be a bosshead of the parade next year …

Autumn in Kyoto...


It's getting cooler and cooler especially in the morning and at night in Kyoto. I can't wait for seeing coloured trees everywhere in Kyoto city. Especially, this year I'd love to visit a small temple in Arashiyama area because it's highly recommended to see!! Can you imagine how beautiful it is if the red red leaves fall in the garden with moss? It must be wonderful to see the contrast of red and green. This temple, called Enri-an, is not open for the public usually, but we can visit there only in autumn, more or less in November. It would be the best time to go there around 3rd or 4th week of November. It's 15 minutes' walk from the Saga-arashiyama Station. Please come and visit us in Kyoto and find YOUR best Kyoto!!

Mitaki-dera Temple


I went to Mitaki-dera Temple a few days ago.

By far it is the best temple I have seen in Hiroshima. It is around 2 km west from JR Yokogawa Station (20 minute walk). The temple were founded in the 15th century and one of the main pagodas are designated as a prefectural important cultural assets.

The premises are in a mountainside and the whole area is mantled in a luxuriant green. It would be a nice hiking as well as watching a lot of small pretty Buddha statues.

There are 3 little waterfalls flowing in the precincts from the different water sources. One of the waters seems very good as drinking water. Many local people come to the temple to get the water for tea or coffee. The water is also dedicated to the A-bombed victims who died in the extremity of the desperate thirst at the peace memorial ceremony on August 6 every year.


The temples are also famous for Autumn leaves. November is one of the best times to visit there. I am, of course, going there again to see beautiful coloured momiji trees.

There are some ways to get there from the hostel:

1 Take tram No.8 and get off at Yokogawa Station (the last stop) >> Then walk about 20 min toward Northwest

2 Bus from Kamiya-cho and get off a Mitaki-kannon (the last stop)

3 JR from Hishoshima station and gett of Mitaki, then walk about 500m.

Please feel free for the access at J-Hoppers reception

For more information of the tepmle, please refer to these websites:

Mitaki area in Hiroshima Prefecture Guidebook.

Mitaki temple in GET HIROSHIMA




HARVEST FESTIVALS



I saw some paddy which were cut and dried in the rice fields by my house.
Harvesting rice is a common sight in the autumn in Japan.
It has gotten cold recently and winter is approaching.



A lot of local autumn festivals are held in many parts of Japan at this time of year,to give thanks for good harvests.
There is a small shrine near our hostel which is called SORASAYA shrine(10mins walk) and an autumn festival is held here on the 2oth and 21st of October with KAGURA dance and music.KAGURA is a Japanese word referring to a specific type of SHINTO theatrical dance.


The festival offers locals a chance to learn more about traditional Japanese culture,while having a good time!!

Japanese campus life



A couple of days ago, I went to my university to see one of my friends who still studies there. The university is called Doshisha University and I love its atmosphere and the architectures. Actually, they've been renovating one of the most famous architecture there since 2002 and now we can see a part of it ( before it was all covered...). It was built in 1894 and it has been a simbol of the university.
We went to a restaurant for students and I was amazed how they changed things nicely!! For example, there are various type of salad and you can have it from 100g, there was a fried shark meet. You can eat many typical Japanese food cheaply there even though you're not a student of this uni. Then there's a cafe in a lounge. It's nice to have coffee on the bench looking at how Japanese students are...
If you're interested in experiencing Japanese campus life, please visit Dohshisha!! It's just across from the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Pop in there and please tell me your opinion for the uni.




Hanbee garden

The boss introduced you the most famous garden of Hiroshima, the Shukkeien garden in this message. There is another supposed to be beautifull garden here : the Hanbe garden (Japanese name : 半べえ庭園). It's located near the Mazda museum (map google) and you can easily go there by bus (Hiroden-bus, line 4, from the bus center, get off at yuuenchi station, it's 2 min walk).



This garden is part of a complex including a onsen, a ceremony hall, a tea room and a restaurant. The garden was built in 1937 with 100.000 azaleas of 300 different species from all over Japan ! It was expected to bring more customers to the already existing onsen but the second world war started soon after and delay .



Now the garden contains 50.000 azaleas, 1.000 maple trees and 50 cherry trees all gathered on the side of the mount shuukazan (聚華山). Two little pounds stand at the bottom, with two springs and one water wheel facing the ceremony hall. A very beautifull stone forest decorates one of the pound, and of course both of them welcome a lot of carps as inhabitants.



The bottom part of the garden is quite a beautifull place to see, and the top one should be a spot to see momiji or hanami, however I wouldn't recommend you to go there. I've been extremely disappointed to discover that the whole top part is completely abandonned. It looked like the end of the winter, when vegetation is at his worst and gardening stopped since monthes. At this time I would accept it but now we are just at the end of the summer, I can't find excuse for weeds in a dirty pathway in such a place. The gardening tools stand in a old and dirty hut, all covered by rust. And electric cables for the lighting up aren't properly maked up. That's real pity. With the shukkeien garden as concurrent, you must be very passionated in japanese gardens to want to visit this one.
I haven't enjoyed the other places of the complex (far away from my purse), but they looked impressive anyway...

Count down J-Hoppers Osaka - Vol.8

Transportation in Osaka

1.Osaka Municipal Subway Lines
There are 7 subway lines and 1 New Tram line. You can figure out which line you should take by checking each unique color. Each station is allocated a reference number. For example, Umeda station on Midosuji is M16.
Please refer to their subway map (PDF file)
One day ticket is available at 850yen. For more detail, please refer to see this link.

2.JR Loop Line
True to its name, the JR Osaka Loop Line (Kanjo-sen) runs in a loop around Osaka. It's not quite as convenient or heavily-used as Tokyo's Yamanote Line, but it stops in major station Osaka, Kyobashi, Tsuruhashi and Tennoji, and by Osaka Castle. Namba and Universal Studios Japan are connected to the Loop Line by short spurs.

3.Private railways
Many private railway lines stretch all over Kansai region. Major railways are Hankyu(Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe), Hanshin(Osaka-Kobe), Keihan(Osaka-Kyoto-Shiga), Nankai(Osaka-Wakayama) and Kintetsu(Osaka-Nara-Mie-Kyoto).




4.Surutto KANSAI
This ticket enables you to ride on subways, private railways and buses throughout the Kansai district. As well as enabling you to tour Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto, it lets you visit Nara, Wakayama and Koyasan. Purchasing the economical KANSAI THRU PASS that comes in two types; 2-day and 3-day, will let you enjoy a more value-for-money holiday.
Please refer to this page for more detail.

5.Multiple Ride Card
The Multiple Ride Card is a prepaid discount card which is valid for transportation on the subway, New Tram, and city buses. No term of validity is set. Price: 3,000yen (good for 3,300yen worth of travel) for adults
Please refer to this page for more detail.



6.The City Loop Bus (Kobe)
One-way ticket: ¥250. One-day ticket: ¥650. The City Loop Bus circulates around many of Kobe’s sightseeing areas, such as the Foreigner houses, Harborland, Motomachi and the main stations of Kobe, Sannomiya, and Shin-Kobe. You can get on or get off as many times as you like if you buy the one-day ticket. You can also buy it on the bus. Service is offered every 18 - 20min., from 9:20 – evening (1 round: 70min.)

7.Airport Limousine Bus
There are a lot of bus stops for limousine bus. You can check the bus stop and time table on this website.

Arashiyama



I recommend Arashiyama area (even so though it is certainly crowded…).
Arashiyama is one of my cycling courses.

One of the principal sights of Arashiyama is the famous old wooden bridge, Togetsukyo, that span the Katsura River.The name means “Moon-Crossing Bridge” an allusion to the moon crossing the night sky. This bridge and, with the mountains in the background, is represented in many a scroll and screen painting.

There are a lot of sightseeing spots there. For example Daikaku-ji, Tenryu-ji and path of Bamboo …(and Monkey park). But I think the best spot is bench around the rivers.
You can take relax. You will feel wonderful breeze of autumn and the sound of the river flows (and some tourist's noise ?)

From J-Hoppers : 20min by JR or 1 hour by bike.

The SUKIYAKI

I didn't follow Aki's blog. I think that it's just the autumn drived me to write this.
Yes !! One of my dreams about food came true a couple of days ago. Finally, I went the most famous Sukiyaki restaurant in Kyoto, Mishima-Tei. History of Mishima-Tei is over 130 years. Oh my goodness, you don't know Sukiyaki !? It's not a world famous Japanese song. Learn it on here.

The one I had is really good one. It costs 10,000 yen, my stomach was about to explode though. Meat isn't Kobe beef, but it's a top quality Japanese marbled beef. This might be the first and last to taste for me. I hope you can feel how delicious it is. They are not only restaurant but also selling beef. You can buy and cook it at J-Hoppers if you want.



The season of appetites

Yesterday's dinner at home.
  • Sanma no Shio-yaki (= grilled saury with salt)
  • Niku jaga (= simmered meat, onions and potatos)
  • Hourensou ohitashi (= boiled spinach dipped in soy sauce)
  • Hiya-yakko (= cold tofu topped with ginger and spring onion
  • Plain rice

Autumn is the season of the appetites. Various kind of ingredients come onto market such as chestnuts, persimmons, pears and matsutake mushrooms. In all of those Autumn foodstuff, many Japanese people should point out sanma (Pacific saury) as the most popular one. Actually we can eat sanmas all season nowadays but Autumn sanmas are much tastier than those of the other seasons.

Normally we broil it with salt (shio-yaki). Not only the white flesh part, but the little-bitter guts are also very good. I myself would love to have it as sashimi (= sliced way of raw fish).
If you visit Japan in Autumn, please try sanma. You can find it easily in supermarkets or some Japanese style small restaurants (we call teishoku-ya) have menus of sanma.

AUTUMN BLOOMER


Today I saw HIGANBANA (red spindler lily) on my way to J-hoppers Hiroshima.When I see HIGANBANA,I feel that autumn has come.
HIGAN means a week - long Buddhist ceremony celebrated in spring and autumn in Japan.
This flower blossoms in autumn.So HIGANBANA is known as autumn bloomer.
I saw a lot of these flowers which were blossoming at KIYOMIZU-temple when I traveled to Kyoto 2weeks ago.
It was really beautifu
l and suited the temple.

I will introduce another autumn bloomer of Japan.


SUSUKI(silver glrass)

Its height is 1~2m.It is widely distributed in Japan especially in the hills and dales.
In Japan ,we offer some rice cakes and susuki for the full moon on the fifteenth night of September.





YOMOGI(mug wort)


It is strongly scented.And we have it with tempura ,rice cake and miso soup.







Please come to Japan and e
njoy our four different seasons!!

Cafe at a bookshop


Hi there. Do you like spending some time reading books or talking with your friends at cafe?? I do, actually. I'd like to recommend you one cafe in Kyoto. It's in a buliding called BAL in the city centre of Kyoto and at the top of this building, there's the cafe called Morris Cafe. You can have lunch there, you can read books that you bought in this building because there's a big bookstore or it's also nice to stay and have some relaxing time here. If you're a bit lazy to do sightseeing or you don't know what to do on the autumn rainy days, this cafe is the place to go!!

MOMIJI-MANJU



Have you ever heard of Momiji-manju before? Japanese people hear the word HIROSHIMA,we think about Momiji-manju. Momiji means maple leaf and manju are popular and traditional Japanese sweets foods. The basic ingredients are flour,egg, sugar,and honey. Momiji(maple) is the prefectural flower of Hiroshima and Momiji-manju is formed in the shape of maple leaf. It has a variety of flavors,including red beanm,custard,maccha,and cheese. Especially I would like to recommend ' AGE-MOMIJI'.It is fried Momiji-manju. you can enjoy Momiji-manju that is prepared manju in some different ways. You can have it just for 70-80 yen a piece.It is quite cheap isn't it? Most of them are made on the MIYAJIMA island.so you can have fresh Momiji-manju on the island. When you go to the island ,please try it:)

Motoujina Park

Today I went to Motoujina Park with my family. This is the place which one of our colleague Pascal recommended for an easy hiking. The park is right next to Hiroshima Port, which is one of the biggest ports in western Japan. You can visit there by the city tram easily for around 45 minutes.
There are beautiful beaches and an old-growth forest there. It was quite a fresh surprise to know that this kind of great nature is still preserved in such a industrial area. Actually it is designated as a part of Setouchi National Park. The park is in a small island and it is about 3 km around. It would be nice to walk with the beaches or you can go up into the well-wooded evergreen broadleaf forest as a short hiking.
You can go to the park from J-Hoppers hostel by tram for about 1 hour. You can also enjoy the park with our rental bike. If you are interested, please feel free to ask at the reception.

I think I will go there again and introduce some more about this park later.
Thank you!
For the Park Map,
please see this link (Written in Japanese )

Count down J-Hoppers Osaka - Vol.7

Eating in Osaka
I would like to introduce the following cuisines and restaurants in Osaka, which you may feel funny.

1. Okonomiyaki
A cross between a pancake, pizza, and omelet. The basic ingredients are flour, yam, egg, cabbage, spring onion. Most okonomiyaki restaurants have pork okonomiyaki and squid okonomiyaki. Some restaurants have other options for the topping like shrimp, beef, cheese, rice cake, etc…


2. Takoyaki
Bits of octopus inside fried dumplings. Takoyaki is best eaten from street vendors' carts, which can be found all over the major districts around nightfall. As you compare the surface with Okonomiyaki, The taste of source is similar to Okonomiyaki.


3. Kitsune Udon
Udon are a type of thick Japanese noodle, and kitsune is a piece of sweet deep fried bean curd. The combination of the two in a bonito and kelp broth is delicious. The taste of soup is a quite different from the one in Tokyo.


4. Kushikatsu
Kushikatsu can be made with chicken, pork, seafood, and/or seasonal vegetables. These are skewered on bamboo kushi and deep-fried in vegetable oil. They may be served straight, or with sauce. Many office worker in Osaka drink a beer with Kushikatsu.


5. Zuboraya
A fugu restaurant with a huge blowfish lantern hanging out front located in Dotonbori.
They serve Tecchiri and Tessa. Tecchiri is a pot of blowfish and vegetables, and Tessa is raw blowfish. Both very delicious, the quantity of blowfish consumed in Osaka Prefecture is greater than any other prefecture in Japan.



6. Kani doraku
A crab restaurant in Dotonbori, easily identified by its giant moving crab billboard. One of the most famous landmarks of Osaka. Dishes range are crab-suki, crab-chiri (a kind of crab sukiyaki), and fried crab dishes to crab croquette, roasted crab with salt, crab salad, crab sushi, and boiled king crab.