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!!


Sumo is a competitive contact sport where two wrestlers (rikishi) attempt to force one another. There are six Sumo tournaments each year: three at The Sumo Hall (or Ryōgoku Kokugikan) in Ryōgoku, Tokyo (January, May, and September), and one each in Osaka (March), Nagoya (July) and Fukuoka (November). Each tournament begins on a Sunday and runs for 15 days.

I want to inform the foreign people that one of the tournament will be starting in Osaka shortly.

Date: Sun. March 9th - Sun. March 23rd
Venue: Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium - Osaka

Recentrly Professioanal Sumo has been getting an international flavor with Rikishis from foreign countries.
The first foreigner to win the top division championship was Hawaii-born Takamiyama in the 1970s. He was followed by fellow Hawaiians Konishiki.
Both of the current yokozuna, Asashoryu and Hakuho, are Mongolian. They are among a group of Mongolian wrestlers.
There are currently 59 wrestlers officially listed as foreigners.
There were 19 foreigners in the top two divisions.

Here are the part of listing for foreign wrestler. Hope you can find a rikishi comes from your home country.
If yes, why don't you wattch the matches in Osaka Tournament.

Mongolian:Hakuho Asashoryu (Yokozuna)
Brazilian:Takaazuma (Nishi 24maime)
Chinese:Soukokurai (Nishi 4maime)
Chinese:Nakanokuni (Higashi 9maime)
Korian:Kasugaoh (NishiMaegashira9 maime)
Rossian:Wakanoho (Higashi Maegashira 4maime)
Rossian:Roho (Higashi Maegashira 6maime)
Tongan:Minami-no-shima (Higashi44maime)
Georgian Kokkai (Nishi Maegashira5maime)
Czech:Takanoyama (Nishi48 maime)
Bulgarian:Koto Ohshu (Higashi Ozeki)
Kazakhstan:Kazafusan (Nishi38 maime)
Estonian Baruto (Higashi Maegashira 7maime)
Hungarian:Masutohoh (Higashi 61maime)

Shrine in the show

Despite the trend of warm winter, we have a lot of snowfall in Kyoto this season.

Yesterday it snowed quite much. I went to Hirano Jinja Shrine with my son.

Hirano Jinja is a very old shrine founded in the 8th century.

The shrine is famous for the cherry blossoms.

If you travel Kyoto in april, don’t forget to visit the shrine.

Go East

Spring will come soon(but still cold in Kyoto...).

And, I will change from a good snowboarder into a nice cyclist.

Though it does depending on the weather I want to go cycling once per one week.

My recommended cycling course (from J-Hoppers ) is as follows.

South : Uji especially Byodo-in Temple(平等院)

West : The Tower of the Sun (太陽の塔)

North : ...still cold...


East : Lake biwa (琵琶湖)

The other day I went to Lake Biwa (of course by bike).

Lake Biwa is the largest freshwater lake in Japan, located in Shiga Prefecture.

Do you know how far is it from J-Hoppers to Lake Biwa?

About 20km from J-Hoppers to Lake Biwa.

I think that is not so bad. However, there are two hill climb stage at the distance (that are pretty heavy).


To go round Lake Biwa is one of my dream.

And I stand at the start line now!!

Let's Start !!....?!!

Sorry but that's another story.

See you next sunny day!!

Beer Collection

Even though we had Haruichiban (the first spring storm) on the 23rd, it's been VERY VERY cold these days still. I don't remember how many times did I see snow in this winter. In 2007, did I see once ?

It thanks to this cold weather, I have had Nabe (Japanese one pot dishes) many times. They are not so expensive such as sukiyaki and shabu shabu. Eating nabe make my body warm, and I need to drink beer to make my body cool..... ?

I got 3 bottles of beer which are American, Indian and Italian ones. I thought to drink them with their original foods, I mean, with burger, curry and pizza. But the plan fell through. I drunk them at a time. I felt the American one is strong and bitter, the Indian one is rough and sweet and the Italian one is light and bland. It was a rare experience to drink those different tastes. My favorite Japanese beer is SUNTORY MALT'S. Please try it if you have a chance.

Shoji doors

In Japanese traditional architecture, shoji is one of the most common joineries.

It is sort of “paper windows (or doors)”.

It was invented in late Heian period (the 12th century).

At that time, of course, there was no glass in Japan

Shoji was an epoch-making invention to fill both cold protection and delighting.

Don’t you think it is a very unique idea to use paper for this?

Nowadays, shojis are used in sets with glass windows in Japanese houses.

(It is said to shut down ultraviolet.)

The shoji windows are also used in many places of our Mibu house.

Some were broken and we are repairing them now.

What's coming next?

Yesterday, it snowed a lot. I got up to see snow on the roofs and I found 5cm snow on them. Today, it's been raining heavily and I feel sorry for our guests who got soaked... I'm wondering what's coming tomorrow. February finishes after 3 days but I can not feel any spring here yet.
When it rains or snows, I guess it would be a nice idea to go to Nishiki Food Market. They call the market 'Kitchen of Kyoto' and you can find many kinds of typical vegetables of Kyoto. Also, you can eat Takoyaki with 180 yen. If you buy some unique staff, you can cook them in the kitchen here at J-Hoppers. In the city centre, there are some streets covered with roof, so you don't need to get wet. Why don't you hang around there and look for some interesting things for souvenirs on rainy day?

Working Holiday

Recently, one of my friends received a letter from the embassy of Ireland in Japan and they told him that he could get working holiday visa for a year! He was quite happy and he's busy preparing for it ( a bit).
On the other hand, there's an Australian guy who has been trying to find a job with working holiday visa in Japan. Also, I saw some guests who came to Japan with that visa. Now I'd love to know why many people apply for working holiday program in Japan. I can imagine it a little bit, for example, you know language, you're interested in Japan etc. However, I guess that it would be fantastic to travel in Japan but it would be hard to work in Japan...but there are people who apply for working holiday here. Could you tell me your reason for having applied for the program?


Even as the weather becomes bitterly cold and you miss the taste of your mom’s cooking, you can’t take a direct route back home.
You’ve come all this way to Japan so why not try some Japanese home cooking?
Handaya is the place for you!
In a good location with reasonable prices, Handaya serves a variety of Japanese dishes that are found to suit your tastebuds.
Handaya is open 24 hours, 7days a week but there is no bicycle parking and keep in mind , it can be hard to find a seat, especially during lunch time.
There are 49 shops in Japan.
The most simple selection on the menu is Tamagokakegohan(Rice with a fresh egg) which will cost you 141yen. Or you may want to challenge yourself , in which case you should try the 1kg Chicken cutlet curry rice. This will set you back 1000 yen.
Whatever your budget or your appetite, Handaya has something for you!

The Club with Live Music in Kyoto

takutaku is one of the most famous rock bars in Kyoto. An old Japanese sake cellar that had been about to be demolished were renovated and turned to a record shop. It's in 1974, lives were started in 1975. There have hardly seen any changes in the building as the wall sake barrels have been papered.

I have watched live of Kazuki Tomokawa in 2005 (please take a few minutes on the link below, if you like rock or have an interest in Japanese musicians or simply want to know something nice). I was shocked by the band (they were a trio), the atmosphere of the old box and their energetic performances were outstanding. Kazuki Tomokawa was 55 years old. I watched the live acts of The Rolling Stones and David Bowie in their late 50's. Honesty, there is little to choose between the three.

It's in the downtown of the city, but quite difficult to find (it takes some ten minutes for me). Feel free to ask the reception and get the map when you go to there, and check the schedule before you go.

Enjoy !!

Don't you miss...

I believe, trying local food is one of the greatest part of travelling.

As for myself, I always try to open my mind to have local food wherever I go.
Having the same food with locals is probably the shortest way to get to know the people and culture.

I assume that you guys are enjoying having Japanese food everyday!
Sushi, Tempura,Soba, Tofu,Udon,Ramen,Miso-soup. Delicious!!
And the next day
Sushi, Tempura,Soba, Tofu,Udon,Ramen,Miso-soup....Yummy!
And the next next day
Sushi, Tempura,Soba, Tofu,Udon,Ramen,Miso-soup....Good

"Hum...I want to eat something else..."

To be honest with you, when I'm in foreign countries, I love to go to Asian supermarket!
I get so excited and buy lots of stuff whenever I go there...hehehe

Here in Hiroshima where can you buy import food from your country?
*Department store ( food sectiom is underground)
*Jupiter (in Shareo-underground shopping mall)
*Kaldi Coffee Farm (in Aeonmall)
*Il mercante/Italian(in Shareo department store)
*Andersen/German, Dutch bread (on Hondori street)

If you want to take a rest from Japanese food just a little bit, buy some ingredients there and cook something in the J-hoppers kitchen :)


It's been about 2 weeks since J-Hoppers Osaka opened.
It's still quite short time, but we've been having wonderful guests.

Some of guests left their messages on our guest book.
I'd like to report some of them today.

"We had a great stay here. Staff was incredibly friendly and helpful.
Would recommend to friends" 09/02 from Canada

"Great visit! It's the little helpful things that you do that will keep
your guests coming back and will get you recommended to other travelers!
Thanks for your help and kindness!" 09/02 from Canada

"It was perfect with beautiful sceneries in Osaka!
I would not forget everything in this place.
If I come here again, then see you!
Having fun!" 12/02 from republic of Korea

Sorry to guests who I can't report here today, but
Thank you so much EVERYONE who stayed with us!
We're so happy to know that you enjoyed here.
J-Hoppers Osaka will be more comfortable place, so
we're always waiting for your visit.

Thanks xxx


It started to snow in Kyoto. This year, even though it's not very cold usually, it snows a lot!! Last Saturday, it was snowing for 6 hours and I found 5 cm-snow on the roofs of my neighbours. I just couldn't believe how much it was snowing without end. Also tonight, according to the weather forecast, it will snow until tomorrow morning. I love to see snow when I'm at home, but now... I started to worry how I can go home with this weather.
However, if it snows a lot, you can see fantastic sceneries in Kyoto the morning after. Especially, the golden temple with snow is just fabulous. Please check the weather forecast and if it says it will snow, it's a day for you to come to Kyoto!! We and Kyoto covered with snow are waiting for your arrival.

Back to Kyoto

Thank you Hiroshima !

After the 15-month sweet habitation in Hiroshima, We moved back to Kyoto at the end of January.

The biggest difference is house to live.

The house we were living in Hiroshima was an old apartment with 2 bedrooms, 1 kitchen and one small prefabricated bath. It is around 30 square meters.
It is quite small but all right.

It was just in front of the hostel and very convenient to work.

However, there was a matter that was not all right.
The ceiling and the sidewall were leaking when raining.

One of the two bedrooms was unusable ....

While on the other hand,

the new house is kind of palace.


The lot area is more than 10 times to the Hiroshima apartment and has 3 gardens ! Also, there are 5 bed rooms, 1 living room, 1 dining room and 1 kitchen. the large bathroom is with a cozy Jacuzzi. The toilets are of course “Washlet” (It is kind of special washlet. The oilet seat cover opens / shuts and automatically and flushed automatically. Of course he washes and dry the part. So we don’ t have to touch anything but in the toilet!).

Backyard of the new house

We cannot afford to rent the huge house by ourselves and we are going to share the house with a few tenants as a monthly guesthouse. We are now preparing for that.

Torii at Itsukushima shrine

Hi.How are you?

This picture is the famous"Floating Torii"at Itsukushima shrine.
You have seen this torii gate ,haven't you?
We call this gate torii in Japanese.

Torii is a traditional Japanese gate commonly found at the entry to a Shinto shine.
Torii mark the entrance to sacred space in Japan.

Torii at Itsukushima shrine is one of the most famous shinens in Japan.
You may see a number of torii gates in Japan,but "Floating torii" is very rare.
If you go to Miyajima Island at low tide,you won't see "floating torii",so please check the times of hight tide and low tide.
If you do go to Miyajima at low tide ,you will be able to pass under the gate,which is said to bring you good fortune!!

This torii is not buried in the seabed,it on top of the seabed.
Don't you wonder why it has never fallen over??
Because 7 tons of stones are embedded in the foot of the trii.

The hight of torii is about 16 meters.the feet is about 10 meters,and it is made of natural tree.

Do you feel like going to miyajima Island???

There is plenty to see,great shrines,temples,it is a scenic location!!!

St.Valentine's Day is coming!!

How do you celebrate St.Valentine's day in your country? In Japan, we females, give chocolates to whom we like very much and when they stay together, females do the same. I have been thinking that is not fair, though. It's always girls who need to have a courage to say how we care about boys on the 14th Feb!! Anyway, there's a Valentine's day-atomosphere in the town and I see many girls trying to buy the best chocolate for the day. I wonder how males would feel when they receive chocolates from females...It might be an exciting day for men!! On the other hand, boys are supposed to give something back to girls on the 14th March and this day is called White Day in Japan.
If you have got a chance to visit Japan around 14th Feb, for females, why don't you buy some chocolates for someone special in your country? For males...we'll see.

Cherry foretaste ...

You can't wait for Cherry Blossom ? I can't either, but Nature send us some help to keep patient until April with ... Plum Blossom ! Actually flowers are so similar that on my first year in Japan I've been mistaken and thought it was Cherry blossom ... f(^_^;) Plum blossom starts from around now and last until middle/end of March. So let me introduce you some good places to enjoy plum blossom ...

In Osaka area :

* The best place of all is surely Tenmangu Shrine. It will hold a Plum Matsuri from 10th of February to 9th of March
100 trees in its precinct
open from 9:00 to 17:00
special exhibition of bonsai, 500 yen
on the 17th and 24th of February, you can experience yourself handicraft made of fabric, 300-500 yen, 10:00 to 15:00
on the 2nd and 9th of March, you can experience yourself handicraft made of paper, 500 yen, 10:00 to 15:00
on every saturday, sunday and national holidays, you can eat a special "plum bentou", 2000 yen including bonsai exhibition ticket, you have to order it at least 3 days before
Tenmangu station on the JR loop line

* Osaka castle park
open 24h a day, free, 1250 trees
Osakajokoen station on the JR loop line

In Kyoto area :

* At Kitano Tenmangu shrine there will be a little matsuri on the 25th of February
2000 trees
open from 10:00 to 16:00
600 yen including tea and cake

* In the Nijo castle park
130 trees
open from 8:45 to 16:00
600 yen

* Kyoto Botanical garden
open from 9:00 to 16:00
150 trees
200 yen

And if you look for something more "offroad", you can try :

* Ishiyama temple
open from 8:00 to 16:30
400 trees
500 yen
If you climb up the mountain there you will probably find a beautiful view of Lake Biwa
from Osaka : take a Keihan train at Kyobashi station (linked to the loop line) bound to Sanjobashi station in Kyoto (40mn, 400 yen), then ...
from Kyoto : take a Keihan train from Sanjobashi station to Ishiyamadera station (40mn, 540 yen), then walk 10mn toward south.