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!!

SUUUSHIIII !!!



A new shop has opened almost right in front of J-Hoppers : a Sushi Restaurant !!! I'm sooooo HAPPY ! Yes, I LOVE sushi :-D
There was already a place to eat some raw fish near J-Hoppers Osaka but it was small, not so near, and had only one fixed menu of sushi. Now we have a real one, cheap, with lot of fish species, brand new and spacious counter, just two steps down the street.
We are really happy for ourself, but for our customers too of course. It's the best occasion to try sushi. We are going to prepare you a short list of translated fish names with the view you too allow you enjoying the experience. You will order your sushi just like a real Japanese ! ;-)

Everyday is Kyoto day.











































On my days off, I explore Kyoto by my bike and find so much beauty .

I get lost in small alley ways , jump cross the Kamo-river, have a breath taking hot tea in quite temples.


There are so much to feel and see by your eyes and heart in this city.
It's always there around the corner!

"Kyoto" shows me so many different faces everyday.

What do you see here ?It's all in your eyes!






We had a farewell party for 2 J-happies leaving J-hoppers in few days. They were wonderful and We wish them all the best!! Thank you Chinen-san and Tsuchiya-kun! We will miss you badly.

Farewell of 2 J-happies.

We had a farewell party for 2 J-happies leaving J-hoppers in few days.
They were wonderful and We wish them all the best!!
Thank you Chinen-san and Tsuchiya-kun!
We will miss you badly.

Green everywhere

A small path which I take to comute
to J-Hoppers Kyoto hostel.
It is nice to Go through the green tunnel!


After the gorgeous Sakura weeks, we are having beautiful green days in Kyoto.
Kyoto with young green leaves is also nice as well as sakura-pinky Kyoto or momiji-reddish Kyoto.
What is better, the green comes just as what you would expect.

The green season comes regularly and are brightly beautiful in the same way every year, while sakura times sometimes come in a different timing and tourists sometimes have to give away the best time for full bloom.
Also, sometimes, coloured momijis are not as beautiful as you expected and it would disappoint you.

Please enjoy greeny Kyoto this time !

3 years in Kyoto

3 years have passed since I moved to Kyoto. I have never stayed at the same place longer than 2 years after graduating high school, and hopped place to place with my backpack. I was born in Kanagawa prefecture (south to Tokyo) and didn't have any ideas that I would choose to settle down in Kyoto. I know that I might move to the other place and spend many years at the place.

Besides, the above reason, Kyoto is becoming one of the most important cities in me because it is where I married. On a sunny day of the beginning of April under full-blown cherry blossoms, I married at Shimogamo shrine in totally Japanese style.


I couldn't ask .... but the next couples who had a wedding ceremony was German.

Awarded !

We received yesterday a very pleasant message and package from Hostelbookers :



Best staff over 2500 hostels all over the world for the month of March !

THANKS TO ALL OF OUR CUSTOMERS !! :-D

We don't know if it's due to Ken's great takoyaki cooking ability, Nori's charming smile, Ken(bis)'s daily guitar performance, or rascal Pascal's hustle but anyway we will keep on working hard to make your trip in Japan the best of ever ! :-)

By the way there is a 'crepe' party under preparation next month. Keep an eye on the "What's new" section of our Osaka Webpage and add your team to compete our japanese and french teams !!! ;-)

Kappa

Captured kappa in Edo period

It is not the name of Italian sports bland.
Translating the Japanese literally, it is "River kid".
Kappa is one of Japanese Yokais, which I introduced the other day.

As the name indicates, they live in the river.
A kappa has a plate with some water on their head.
If the water dries up, he should die.
He has a beak and a carapace. His skin colour is green and has 3 anuses (what !?).
His arms are connected in his body and if someone pulls one arm, the other arm becomes short (what again !?)
His favorite is cucumbers.
So cucumber roles in sushi menu are called "Kappa maki".


Kappa dragging a guy's innards out from his anus
We have to be careful when swimming in the river


They sometimes harm people.
When swimming in the river, a kappa sometimes draw us into the river, poking the hand from the anus and drag out the innards.
So Pascal, please be careful when you swim in Hozu River.

Most people think Kappas are imaginary creature.
However it is not attested.
There are a lot of kappa legends everywhere in Japan.
I think existence of kappa has more realty in old times.

Nowadays they may superterrene obscurity somewhere deep in the mountain (like Hozu river) away from polluted rivers covered with concrete.

The Hozu river

Iida-san has spoken the other day about Mt Atago (google map) which is little bit north of the well known Arashiyama, and you can read (in japanese) and see more about it on a former message too.
Actually this a very interesting area if you want to discover japanese nature while staying at Kyoto, and since I get back here from Hiroshima this is the first spot I felt like introducing to you. By the way, for my final best selection of places to hike and bike around Hiroshima, click here !

I recently discovered a very interesting connection between the Arashiyama "torokko" touristic train (also called sagano scenic railway) and the start point for mount Atago.

By foot
, first go to Arashiyama (bus #11 or #93, or train from Shijo-Omiya, both around 200 yen/30mn) (
google map), then walk few minutes to the torokko touristic train. Then enjoy this little railroad that goes along the river and get off at Torokko Hozukyo station (don't mistake with Hozukyo station) (google map). If you go farther you can get back on boat or raft, I may tell you about that another day.



Touristic boats going down the Hozu river.

There cross the bridge over the river and turn right. You will soon pass a tunnel. Just before entering you can walk up on its right on a very small pathway to a beautifull point of view. After the tunnel, another small bridge and right after the bridge, on your left side the entrance of the course to Kiyotaki (the "pure spring") (
google map).

By bicycle, go the road 187 which pass along the Nijo Castle (north side) (
google map) and ride until its end toward the west. Then turn right and follow the road 50 toward Mt Atago (google map). After few minutes you will reach a fork (can't be missed : in front there is a huge tori) from where you can go to Mt Atago if you keep straight forward (road 137) or take the direction of Hozu if you turn left staying on the road 50 (google map). Just before the fork the road 50 can easily be mistaken with a bigger one that goes along it. Both are the same with consideration of itinerary but the smallest one crosses a very little and typical village that would be a shame to miss !



Old traditional house's roof.

There is a lot of little shops here to take a rest or buy handycraft before entering the forest.
Then you will have a hard time climbing the pass in the wood, and be very careful while going down on the other side : it's extremely steeply !! But as soon you reach the top you understand that's a spot ! At the bottom of the slope you reach the entrance of the course of the kiyotaki. If you keep on forward you can have a very enjoyable piece of a ride for a very long time. I haven't went very far as it wasn't my goal of the day but will surely come back and speak about it later. I made a peaceful picnic on a top of a rock while looking at a funny pack of monkeys on the opposite side of the mountain, with the touristic train or laughing rafters interrupting regularly their games.



The pass of the road 50.

From the entrance of the hiking course it becomes common with walking course. By bicycle it may be a little bit tough but you will enjoy the challenge for sure. About the spring ... well I'm still looking for it !! I've seen a small one that I supposed afterward to be the kiyotaki spring but ... Maaa the rest of the course is enough anyway ! :-)



The course goes along a charming little river.



The wildlife is abundant and splendid...



... as well as the flora.
About this very beautiful flower, there is actually a little more to the north a village called Takao where a side of the mountain is completely covered. It's so beautiful to look at ! But let's talk about that later ;-)

The course is not so long and not very difficult by foot, and finally you will reach the small village at the beginning of the course for Mount Atago. Ah, There is also connection with others hiking course that goes directly to the mount Atago through the woods. This village seems well known as a spot for fireflies, though it'd better go there in summer. Except that you're in the middle of nowhere, but you may find opened a little restaurant of udon ...

Then if you're a crazy walker/rider you can keep on your way to the top of Atago, or come back to the road to Takao (there are bus going there if you're by foot), or come back to Kyoto with bus #62. By the way this bus is the best, and actually only, one to take from Kyoto if you want to go to Mt Atago. The bus stop is a little top of the village (google map). Just follow the road, it's one way, thus hard to get lost there. The bus #62 will bring you back over a long tunnel to the fork previously described (actually you are back on the road 137). If you pass the tunnel by bicycle take good care at you as it's so narrow that you can hardly pass with a car at the same time, and it's long and completely dark !! Either you may prefer the long and steep way over the tunnel. It would cut your legs off !

That's all for today folks ... !

Thanks to Kurokawa-san with who I found the idea of this itinerary while enjoying this wonderfull tool that is Google map ! :-)

April makes turn over

In Japan, new school terms and most entrances of companies start in April. So there are always cherry blossoms with the entrance ceremonies. I think most Japanese take April as the month to turn over a new leaf as well as New Year’s Day.

Typical scean of a scool entrance ceremony


Wild plants and vegetables like brackens (=warabi) or horsetails (=tsukushi) also begin to sprout. When you go to Japanese style restaurants or izakayas in this season, you may luck out in these kind of wild vegetables (=sansai). Please try them.

Other sansai (wild vegetables) you may see in the restaurant in this season

Tarano-me (tara sprout)

Fukinoto (butterbur sprout)

Nanohana (Field mustard)

Udo (Udo salad plant)

Japanese Wedding


My Japanese friend got married last year.
Her husband is New Zealander.
They met in New Zealand.

The wedding ceremony took place in a shrine in Japan.
What do you wear for a wedding in your country?
As you may know ,We wear kimono for weddings.
In Japan,Recently, an increasing number of Japanese wear a wedding dress at a wedding.
Groom and bride exchange nuptial caps of sake when they hold a wedding ceremony in a shine.
The ceremony is called "SAN-SAN-KU-DO".
THe bride and groom each drink from three different cups of sake,three times.
So 3×3→9
3→SAN 3→SAN 9→KU(KYU) times→DO in Japanese .

Mt. Atago



If you are in the downtown of Kyoto city or somewhere nearby, please rear up and look toward the north-east direction. You could see a mountain like the photo above.
The name is Mt. Atago.
It is the one of the most famous mountains in Kyoto.
There is a small shrine on the 924-meter top of the mountain. Many people climb the mountain to visit the shrine on every July 31st and Dec 31st every year. If is not that special occasion, people enjoy casual hiking in the mountain.

The mountain is familiar with people life of Kyoto.
You may see this tag in the kitchen of a restaurant or in your friend's house in Kyoto. This tag is sold at the shrine.

Also, Kyoto people forecast daily weather by watching the mountain. For example, if the mountaintop is covered by clouds in the mourning, it should rain in the afternoon, etc …
In winter, cold wind blows from Mt. Atago-san. We call the wind "Atago-Oroshi" = "Atago Wind" in English.

At the foot of the mountain, a limpid stream flows from the east to the west. We can enjoy "firefly watching" in June. In summer, the area becomes very busy for swimming and barbeques.

If you get bored visiting temples, would be good idea to try Atago-san.
From J-Hoppers Hostel to the mountain, it takes about 1 hour using JR and the city bus. And also it takes about 2-3 hours to the top. Please take good shoes.

I guarantee it will be a very physical day for you !!