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!!

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!

Some pictures of 2009's momiji, from Arashiyama and Daitokuji



Walking in the Daitokuji,
The last survivors searching for light of life across dead pillars.



Enchanting bamboo forest of Arashiyama,
As an impressionist painting, with ink stains.



Garden of the Tenryuji,
Dragonfly were dying on the ground.



Walking in Arashiyama park,
Regarding treas as fractals, in three dimensions.

Harvest

Kyoto is a million city but big farming areas stretch around the city. My father owns several ridges about 20km from the city center.
Last week we went there and harvested the autumn vegetables.
We took green soybeans, radishes, sweet potatos, broccolies, Kaki (Japanese persimmons), Satoimo (Japanese taros), Carrots and some more.

Japan is thought one of the most expensive countries of the world. I don’t think so nowadays, but about vegetables, I have to say yes. It might be excusable in this mountainous country.
So my fathers fields are the grateful small market for us.

Satsumaimo (Sweet potatos)


Statoimo (Japanese taros)

Daikon(Radish)

Gion Geisha Odori




Autumn arrived in Kyoto and Momiji leaves started turning red.
I went to one of the Maiko&Geisha dance performance.
Before the performance, a Geisha made us tea in “the way of tea” and Maiko(young girls before they become a Geisha)served it to us.
Luckily, my friend reserved me a special seat and I could see all the detail of the movement of maiko and geisha girls.
I almost got goose bumps from their humble but very amorous movements.
In general, Maiko girls wear very colorful cute dresses and Geisha girls wear dark color kimono and hair style is much more simple.
You can find it’s so different that Maiko girls are like a little flowers but Geisha has a strength in their eyes and it attract people from it ‘s deep mysterious sight line.
This autumn, the story was about 7 wonder of Chion-in temple.
2 of the stories were about a female fox who left a umbrella at the ceiling of the temple.
The other one was about cats and birds who popped out from the painting on the screen.
Those dances were so real and it made me to realize how much you can express by your movement such as cat , birds , any kind of creatures and anything on this earth.

I’m taking a lesson of Way of Tea lately from soutou zen nun.
Each time when I take lessons, it last 3 or 4hours sometimes even longer.
Taking the lesson makes me very tired because I need to focus and be conscious to be
“Unconsciously Conscious person”.
We need to bend our knee in a complete square and everything is already ruled in the tea room. Not only the practice of myself but seeing the practice of other people is a good way to learn .
If we put little more conscious on our movement, it will make our life better and make us appreciate our ordinary lives.
If you ever come to Japan,,,keep your eyes on and sharpen your mind to sense the essence of this mysterious culture.

Autumn colors arrived in Kyoto



As you can see on this photo taken in the Imperial Palace Park, trees has just started to turn yellow and red in Kyoto ! By the way, don't miss the opportunity to enter the Imperial Palace (usually closed) for free, until the 10th (9:00-15:30).

I haven't went anywhere to shoot some momiji yet, but this year I think about the Kozan-ji Temple. It's located in the Takao area, easily accessible by bus from anywhere in Kyoto (JR Bus Takao Keihoku Line), and keeps what's sometime called the oldest japanese manga, the Choujuu Jinbutsu Giga :


Open from 9:00 to 17:00, 1000 yen.

Another way to enjoy Nature and Culture at the same time this month is the Kennin-ji Temple in Gion. Its japanese garden is not to be missed if you want to enjoy red leaves, and it will expose until the 8th of November another marvel, the Fuujin Raijin. 500 yen, 10:00 - 16:00.





Finally, in the Osaka area, I really hope to have time to go to Minoo Falls. Accessible by Hankyu train line, get off at the Minoo station (25mn from Umeda)... It offers a lot of hiking courses and attractions.