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!!

Christmas days at J-Hoppers Osaka

How did you spend your Christmas?
We had a big Christmas party on the 23rd in J-Hoppers Osaka.
The president of J-Hoppers and the manager of Kyoto Shin-san, and another staff,kari-chan also could come to join us, so it become a sort of year-end dinner party at the end :)

The main menu was Tomato nabe. "Nabe" is Japanese traditional winter food, but Tomato nabe is/was not! Somehow it's become popular in this year, or I can say the meals with lots of tomato are very popular in Japan now. Actually, there is Tomato ramen(noodle) restaurant near J-Hoppers Osaka. About the first time they opened, we wondered if it's good or not, but now we like it so much and it's always crowded !

Anyway, we cooked Tomato nabe with a bit anxious.. as it's the first time for us to cook here..
But it was successful! We put many succulent pork cooked with garlic,and seafoods, sausages and lots of vegetables, then all of them made delicious soup! mmm.. yum!!

Also, Sawako cooked "chili con carne(チリコンカン)" , and one of cleaner staff Sachi cooked another dish as one of appetizer. They're also so nice and we couldn't stop eating.

While we're eating, of couse, another cleaner staff Mr.Yano coudn't help showing his magic show!!

One of guest was stimulated by him and started showing her magic,too!

At the end of party, we enjoyed Pascal's handmade apple& chocolate cake with icecream!!
That taste still makes me hungry..

Well, we're a nice team, aren't we?


On the 24th, we planned to present a small gift for each guests who stayed on that day.
We bought many sweets and snacks and packed in a small cute bag.. for boys.
Because, Fumi made beautiful origami boxed for girls and we put some sweets in there.
It must be women's prerogative.. how lucky we girls are!

She did very well and worked so hard, and made 17 boxes in total!

Even when they started check-in, she was making them beside..

We're soooo glad, because we could make them smile and happy with our small gift!

Good-job, Fumi !

Thank you for everyone who shared your time with us on such a special days,
we hope you enjoyed your stay and see you next time!

J-Hoppers Hiroshima Christmas Party

We had a Christmas Party at J-Hoppers Hiroshima on the Christmas Eve!

There were a lot of hurry on cooking that day, but the girls made Paella, stew, salad and Karaage(Japanese fried chicken) in a short time! Great job!!!

And of course, we shared a good time with lots of guests!
Merry Christmas!

It was full of people and joy all night.
It's been a bit quiet these past few weeks here, so it made me feel more like a 'hostel'. Love it!

   * * * * * *

2009 is almost over now.
It has been a very good one here at J-Hoppers Hiroshima.
It was filled with great people and lots of laughter.

We really appreciate all of your stay and support in 2009.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

Have a good 2010!

New Year in Osaka (2009 update !)

I'm almost late for the update of the last year article (here and there) about new year events, quick !!

* At Taiyuji Temple, you can strike the bell and receive talisman (only for the 108 first ones). On the 31st at 0:00, it's free and it's here.

* At Minamimido Temple, avoid bad luck for next year by ringing the bell of the temple from 23:30 (only for the 108 first ones, but groups can ring the bell all together at once). The first 200 persons will also receive free soba noodles. It's free and it's here.

* At Aizendo Temple, avoid bad luck for next year by ringing the bell of the temple from 23:30 (only for the 108 first ones) and receive the Ema (sacred painting on a wooden tablet) of this temple. It's free and it's here.

* At Kanshinji Temple, receive a lucky charm made of Kaya to protect you all next year (only for the 600 first ones), and a sacred rice scoop (only for the 108 first ones). On the 31st, it's free and it's here.

* At Kitamido Temple, a count down with fireworks and music will start around 23:00. It's free and it's here.

* At Sky Building, big count down with light, sound, fireworks and ... 10.000 spectators expected !! From around 23:15. The 40th floor will be open too for few happy ones. It's free (except for the 40th floor, 700Y) and it's here.

* At Shitennoji Temple, avoid bad luck for next year by ringing the bell of the temple from 23:30 (only for the 108 first ones) and drink Amazake (sweet sake, only for first 1.000 ones). It's free and it's here.

* At Dainenbutsuji Temple, avoid bad luck for next year by ringing the bell of the temple from 23:30 (only for the 108 first ones) and eat Zenzai and Mochi (sweet red beans soup and sticky ball of rice, only for the first 500 ones) . It's free and it's here.

* At Nozakikannon Temple, ring the bell from 23:00 (only for the 108 first ones) and eat orange and sweat sake, or receive charms. It's free and it's here.

* At Kongoji temple in Koyasan, receive a sacred rice scoop on the 31st and 1st.

* At Tenmangu Temple, drink the Gods' Sake from 0:00. It's free and it's here.

* On board of the Santa Maria sailboat, countdown and party. Departure at 23:45 for 45mn cruise, 2500 yen. More info here (in japanese)

* At Universal Studio Japan, enjoy a very special party from 19:00 to 2:00 with a count down of course and huge fireworks. The pass for this event cost 8.900 yen. Universal Studio official website -> here.

* At Mount Kongo, climb to the summit to see the first sunrise of the year. The ropeway will be exceptionnally open from 5:00 (1300 yen). Free Sake will be offer to the first 200 ones, and free Zenzai to the first 1.000 ones. To go there : From Abenobashi st. to Shakudo St. and then to Gose st. by Kintetsu train (around 40mn, departure from Abenobashi st. at 3:36 arrival at Gose at 4:39), then 3km to the ropeway by foot, then 6mn by Ropeway (departure at 5:40), and finally 30mn of hiking to the top. The sun rises at around 7:05. As I went there last year I recommend you to read this article.

* All the most famous clubs and bars of Osaka will hold their own Countdown party of course, refer to the Kansai Scene Website for more details about clubs and lives.

Inside Osaka, be aware that everything will be crowded. If you hope to ring the bell or receive some of the free foods, go there early and with enough patience to stay in the queue for few hours in the chilly night ! To ring the bell you usually need to get a ticket which are distributed few hours before the start of the ringing. Buy tickets to events as soon as possible !

And remember that :

* The Aquarium of Osaka stay opened.
* The Castle is closed from the 28th to the 2nd.
* Universal Studio Japan stay opened.
* Tennoji zoo is closed from the 29th to the 1st.
* The Tourist Information Centers stay opened.
* The Umeda Sky Building is exceptionnaly opened from 5:00 in the morning on the first if you want to see the first sunrise of the year.
* Namba Parks is closed on the 1st.
* National Museum of Art is closed from the 14th of December to the 15th of January
* Municipal Museum of Art is closed from the 29th to the 3th
* The Tsutenkaku Tower stays opened.
* Most of the restaurants are closed. It's better going to chains like (near J-Hoppers Osaka) Machikadouya, Yoshinoya, Cocoichiban, ... (Traditionnally Japanese eat at home a dish called Osechi, cooked or ordered in advance)
* Convenient stores stay opened.
* Department stores around Osaka Station : HEP Five is closed from the 31st to the 1st, Hankyu Dept Store is closed on the 1st, Hanshin Dept Store is closed on the 1st, Yodobashi Camera stay opened, ...
* Transportations keep running, but with lower frequency.

All the J-Hoppers Osaka staff wish the best ever New Year Day !!!

It is Christmas EVE today♪

Hi there!
It is Christmas EVE today.
I am listening to Christmas songs on the radio now.

Where will you spend Christmas Eve and Day and who with?

We will have a Christmas Eve Party at J-hoppers Hiroshima today and Christmas Party at our sister hostel 'HANA HOSTEL' tomorrow in Hiroshima.

I hope that you have a merry Christmas Eve and Day !!

Onsen, Hot stuff and Hot Food for Winter in Kyoto!

It's getting colder and colder the temperature went down so low.
This morning, I found Ice on the road. All the cat's from the river escaped to somewhere safe from the cold riverside.
Somehow, I love this season. Couple of nights ago ,my American-French friend said "Everyone back in US think Japanese people don't know how to relax , but whao, they have Kotasu, onsen and Nabe,, Japanese people knows the way to relax totally"

Japan is a country for volcanic mountains and that brought us the rich culture of hot spring.
We can not survive winter without hot bath.

Kyoto visitors guide (featured onsen)

There are several Onsens in Kyoto, and even in the middle of the city , there are a lot of public bath houses.
I went to the Ohara onsen.
When the dusk came , we jumped on the bus toOhara .
Ohara is in Kyoto city but located in the north east of Kyoto ,over the mountain from the center .
We walked through beautiful rice paddy , narrow streets,crossed the creek, it was a little adventure.
After the walk in the cold air,we soaked ourselves in the hot bath for 2hours, listened the songs of leaves ,had fun chat...
They have unique style outside bath right at the forest. I can't not
imagine if something can be more luxury than this.

There are loads of fun things in winter.
Kotatsu is a low style table .We put the futon in the middle and cover it with a table top.
Inside is heated so you don't freeze. Only a dangerous thing is making
us sleepy and too lazy for getting out!

And some hot food?!

Hot Tonkotsu Ramen

Hot Ookomi-yaki and Yakisoba!

Nabe with Kotatsu
Making Nabe,,,

Nabe is a Hot pot we eat on the table.
Bring the huge pot and cook vegetables, tofu, meat, fish.
The taste is heavenly in winter. You can make any kinds of flavor.
Miso, soy sauce, kimuchi, ponzu,sesami. Healthy and filling:)

When I was living in Germany,,I had to allow myself to make Nabe for myself.
(You can get ingredients from Asian Food stores)

See? You can see the reason why I love winter :)

One more good thing of winter is ....
We can appreciate the warmth of people and home.

Best wishes for holiday seasons and Christmas!

Snow Sonw Snow...

I think winter doesn't look like winter without snow.
This year Takayama had a first snow of the season on the 2nd of November.
Since then, we haven't got snow for 1 month.


We will put bikes into the warehouse today...

Please bring warm clothing for winter.

Autumn and Winter .Seasons of Kyoto

Kouyou(Red leaves) is over .
When I look up mountains in Kyoto, east ,west ,north everywhere, mountains were burning .
So bright for my eyes.. Then the time for dormant is coming.
Those beautifulness brought us to appreciate "How seasons come and go"
Now, It started getting colder and we see our white breath in the crisp air.
I just wanted to recall a reminder of autumn and celebrate this winter.

I found a sakura(Cherry blossom) blooming under the blue winter sky.

Camellia is silently blooming around the corner.
After the brief rain, I can smell the perfume of camellia here and there.
We can picture the elegant figure of her even beneath closed lids

Thanks to everyone who stayed at J-Hoppers Osaka Central !

We've just been ranked by Hostelworld customers as the 10th best hostel in all Asia for November 2009 !!
Shall we bless our manager Ken who looks like the famous baseball outfielder Ichiro as like as two peas in a pod ? Shall we bless our saint Noriko who brings us enlighted peace from each of her pilgrimage ? Shall we bless our cute Sawako and her gorgeous brush paintings gallery ? Shall we bless our crazy Pascal and his frightening french humour ? Or maybe that's thank to the almost world famous magical 999 show of Mister Yano ?
Anyway we'll keep on working hard to provide you the best quality of service and the most enjoyable stay in our guesthouse !

Thanks Million!! Number 8 Hostel in JAPAN(Asia)!voted by J-Hoppers Kyoto Guest House!

Dear Guests and all!!

We were delightedly voted as one of The top ten hostels in Asia for November 2009!!
We take this opportunity to thank you for all the precious guests and helps of surrounded people. Doumo Arigatou gozaimasu!

Let's go to Minoo !

Minoo is a small village in the mountain north from Osaka. It's very easy access as you can get there by Hankyu train from Umeda Station in less than 30mn. Take the Takarazuka line and change at Ishibashi Station for the Minoo line, 260 yen. If you're looking for some green while you're staying at Osaka that's the perfect location ! An easy walk along the river will lead you to a big waterfall. Those who would enjoy more walking can also escape in the mountain thanks to many hiking courses. In the small village don't forget to buy some chestnuts, and the local speciality : fried maple leaves. Take care to your bags as monkeys are numerous and try to steal all what they see.

This old house is now a cafe which serves delicious cakes !

Of course there are some temples on the way.

Happy monkey stole an orange. Don't try to give them food, you'll get a fine of 10.000 yen !

Old bridge over the river.

So many differents greens, reds and yellows !

The Minoo waterfall.

Gorgeous !

A Day Trip to Matsue

Three of us from J-Hoppers Hiroshima had a day trip to Matsue, Shimane the other day!

Matsue is the capital of Shimane prefectur in western Japan, it use to be a castle town at the 17th century.

We left around 9 in the morning and it was three-hour drive from Hiroshima city.
Honestly I expected not much to see in the city(sorry!), but my first impression of it was so cool. There are still a lot of old Samurai residences around the big castle. You will get some ideas of the old Japanese lives and you can feel the atmosphere there.

First we had some good Izumo soba which is the local specialty in Shimane.
The restaurant right by the castle has been in business for 50 years! The soba was great, of course and It was a cold day, so it warmed us up too.

We visited to the Tourist Information Center at the Matsue station after lunch to get some information.

You can get all the information you need and friendly English and Korean speaking staff will help you there!

We got some good advise and decided to walk around the city central in the afternoon.

The Matsue castle is the symbol of the city and bigger than I expected. You can see the samurai stuff in it and get a great panorama from the top. We also visited Buke-Yashiki(the samurai residence) and the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial museum.

In the evening, we had dinner with some staff from the Information Center and Miss. Heather Dixon who is from England and has lived in Matsue for 7 years. We got a warm welcoming and had a great time together.

A day trip is not enough to see all around the city! We missed some other interesting places to visit - Izumo Shrine and Adachi museum which has the 43,000 square-meter Japanese garden!

I will definitely come back soon!