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!!

Nippombashi Street Festa 2010

DENDENTOWN, Nippombashi Osaka, is one of the most famous electronics quarters in Japan. Nowadays this area is also well-known as a town of Otaku (: nerd) culture because the street is lined with so many miscellaneous shops selling video games and merchandise featuring anime characters.

"Nippombashi Street Festa" is a big annual event which transmits attractive informations of DENDENTOWN. Various popular characters of animations and pretty maids parade in the street every year. Not only that. Cosplay festival, club-like event of animation songs can be seen.

Even though the parade already finished when I arrived there, the street was still overcrowded as it was turned into vehicle-free during the event. Yes, it was like a cosplay paradise.

Let me show you some fine performances by people who soaked up this strong Japanese culture.

[Non-Japanese Edition]

Luigi, the younger brother of Nintendo's mascot Mario.

Simon from DURARARA!!

Osaka institution Gliko Neon and funny Doraemon

[Japanese Edition]

Tomodachi (:Friend) from 20th Century Boys
Darth Vader Head

Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean
someone I do not know
(If you do, please tell me his name...)

☆ My No. 1 ☆

Laughing Man from Ghost in the Shell

We rarely see all these people proudly play dress-up just for fun in the public. I met more than 10 people who came up from J-Hoppers Osaka Central. I was so glad to see them being enormously amused.

If you happen to come this way this time next year, it will be your turn to enjoy yourself by cosplaying!

Kanazawa trip

Hi there.I went to Kanazawa where is 1 and half hour from Takayama by bus or 2 hours by JR train.
Highway express was made between Kanazawa and Takayama two years ago.We can go drive up to Kanazawa easily.

What I can think of Kanazawa first is Kenrokuen which is ranked one of Japan's three top gardens.
The second is o-michou seafood market.I went both of them.


There are several hundred shops.many of them specialise in seafood.You can have fresh sushi!!It is so yummy!!

O-michou seafood market

I stayed at a gusthouse called pongyi in Kanazawa.It's 5minutes from Kanazawa station.I can recommend.

Masaki-san(the owner) is really friendly.

Kyoto Legendary Club with Live Music

As a legendary American singer-songwriter gives concerts in Japan, I went to one of the most popular clubs with live music in Kyoto.

The first time I went there is the summer in 2005. There were three hale and hearty old men played the guitar, drums and keyboard in the muggy sake storehouse. The more time goes by, the more audiences get drunk by the power of music and beer. It seems that their music and the atmosphere of the place was perfectly synchronized at the time.

The name of the club is takutaku, these are not my photos but I put them right here for reference.



This video wasn't taken in takutaku, but taken in almost same time. The name of the frontman, he usually a solo musician, is Kazuki Tomokawa. He appeared in 70's folk generation. I wonder how many Japanese peoples know his name.... I didn't know him until the live....

When I showed this play to Yuya, he doesn't seem to like it that much... How about you ?

Hanami @ Maruyama Park

Cherry blossom-viewing (Hanami) is not only meant for viewing flowers. Hanami is a time for merrymaking with drinking, eating and singing under the trees...

Maruyama park is one of the most famous spot in Kyoto. You can find great cherry blossoms and find...Japanese nice hanami culture :-)
Night time is still little bit chill. You must need your jacket for night time Hanami.

Access to Maruyama park from J-Hoppers Kyoto
city bus #202 or #207
⇒get off Gion bus stop
⇒walk for 5 min

Sumo Practice Tour report

The Sumo Practice Tour which we organized 2 weeks ago was much more popular than we thought and fully booked every day!!
Thank you so much for the guests who joined it and also so sorry if you missed it..
However, we will do this tour next year again, so we would be happy if you could feel their time a little bit to read this report.

We visited "Iseno umi beya(heya) 伊勢ノ海部屋" to watch their Sumo practice,where a famous sumo wrestler Tosano umi belongs and this "Heya(sumo stable/group)" has been for 250 years !

All sumo wrestlers were very serious and training so hard, and inside of the sumo stable was so hot and filled with their air of excitement and their power.

We allowed to sit down in a corner to watch them without any speaking, of course.

But they kindly allowed to take photos with them during their training(no flash) and at the end.

with the stable master(the boss/coach)

The grand sumo tournament has been held in Osaka and will end on the 28th of March. There are still some available seat, so please rush to grab it !

Grand Sumo Tournament Information

What is Sumo ??

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The other night, Chika, her boyfriend and I went to the St Patrick's Day party at the Irish pub, Molly Malone's.

St. Patrick's Day is not so popular in Japan.
I got to know this celebration when I was living in Canada. I had some Irish friends. They had prepared some green stuff for over a week, but I didn't know what happens... On March 17th, they started drinking beer(Guinness of course) around 9 in the morning and were drinking all the day and all the night! So I finally found out how Irish people celebrate the day... Crazy!

Anyway, the Molly's was completely packed! Luckily we got seats at perfect position to enjoy live Irish music. Too bad I don't drink beer, but still it was enough to enjoy the night in a great Irish atmosphere. It was such a good night.

Hope everyone had a happy St. Paddy's Day too!

What a beautiful place!! Kosanji Temple!!!!!

I'm always looking for any scrap of information about Hiroshima for sightseeing.
Finally I could find such a nice place in Mihara city,Hiroshima.
It is a temple.It 's called 'KOSANJI'and'MIRAISHIN no OKA'

It takes about 1 hour and half by JR local line from J-Hoppers Hiroshima.
It is not so difficult to get there.Just take a local line and a ferry from Mihara Port.

The Choseizan Kosanji Temple is a temple of the Honganji Line of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism,located on Mt.Chosei,which was developed by the Reverend Kosanji Koso.The priest used to be a very successful buisiness manager of a manufacturing company,which made special large-diameter steel pipes in Osaka.
Then,One day,his mother,who had lovingly taken care of him throughout all the hardships of his life,died.
From her death onwards,his gratitude to his mother and Buddha grew ever stronger,until he decided to become a Buddhist priest.
Later he decided to build a temple,which took more than three decades to complete,and included the years of the Second World War.

Out of all the builgings composing the temple,15 are registered by the national government of Japan as 'Tangible Culutural Properties'.

And also there is garden called 'Miraishin no Oka' is part of the Kosanji Temple Museum's art activities.It is a large garden of white marble covering an are of 5000 ㎡,designed and priduced by Kazuto Kuetani,a sculptor from Kozan,Hiroshima Prefecture.

All the marble used in this garden was taken from Carrara,Italy,where the sculptor has his workshop,and carried to this garden on container ships.

The resulting garden strikes a beautiful balance with the surrounding nater.

Why don't you go there,When you come to Hiroshima??

It's worth a trip!!!!!!

2010 cherry blossom - uncommon suggestions in Kyoto

Here we are, cherry trees have started blossoming in Japan. In Kochi, Matsuyama, Fukuoka and Kumamoto until now to be precise. That's early compare to past years, and it suggests a blossom on the 3/31 in Kyoto, 3/29 in Hiroshima, 4/10 in Takayama (Have a look there for more).
Then it's time for some suggestions of places to "hanami". You may find in your guidebook or the archive of this blog a lot of them, so I will try to introduce here some places less common than Path of Philosophy, Nijo castle, Kiyomizudera, etc... (in my beloved Kyoto only). Let's flew away from the crowd (shall it be possible) !

* the Jissouin temple. In the moutain at north of Kyoto, magnificent cherry trees in a mineral garden. 500 yen, 9:00 - 17:00, map, nearest station : Iwakura on Keihan line.

* the Jonangu shrine. A little bit south of Kyoto station, with a tea ceremony house in one of its three beautiful gardens. 500 yen, 9:00 - 16:30, map, nearest station : subway Takeda.

* the Nakaragi-no-michi path. Along the Kamogawa river, a walking path decorated with crimson weeping cherry trees. Free, open all the time, map, nearest station : subway Kitaoji.

* the Kasuga shrine. Look at the 350 years old cherry tree in this shrine dedicated to the Kasuga Taisha God from Nara. Free, open during daytime, map, nearest train station : Saiin on Hankyu line.

* the Shinnyodou temple. With a wonderful view of cherry flowers and pagoda behind. 500 yen, 9:00 - 16:00, map, nearest station : Shinnyodo-mae city bus stop.

* the Bokusen temple. With rare grey cherry flower which completely cover the floor after falling. Free, open during daytime, map, nearest station : Sumizome on Keihan Line.

* the Daigo temple. 1000 cherry trees on blossom during three weeks due to numerous species. 600 yen, 9:00-17:00, map, nearest station : Kono station on subway.

* the Bishamondou temple. A 100 year old cherry tree spread its 30 meters long branches in the precinct of the temple. 500 yen, 8:30-17:00, map, nearest station : Yamashina on Keihan line.

* the Ninna temple. If you despair of being late for cherry blossom, this temple is your last chance, : it has the latest blossoming in Kyoto. 500 yen, 9:00-16:30, map, nearest station : Ninnaji station on Kintetsu line.

* the Matsuotaisha shrine. One of the oldest shrine in Kyoto, with beautifull cherry flowers around thatched roof storehouses. Free, 9:00-16:00, map, nearest station : Matsuo station on Hankyu line.

Relieve the Weariness of the Journey

Do you like " ONSEN " ??

Hot springs are so popular in Japan.An onsen is a mineral hot-spring spa which is said to have healing and health promoting properties.

I would like to introduce one of Onsen near J-Hoppers Hida Takaya.

It called "Hidamari no Yu". They have outdoor hot spring bath and inside hot spring bath.
In the bathroom,men and women are separated.

Hidamari no Yu is a mildly alkaline hot spring.
The benefits from using a Hidamari no Yu hot spring are as below.
*Muscle ache
*Frozen shoulder(Stiff shoulder)
*Intolerance to cold
*Digestive disease
*Convalescence stage
*Skin disease

If you would like to try Hidamari no yu,Please come to the reception.
We have spesial discounted ticket for 850yen (usually 1050yen).
Also, there is a shuttle bus to the Hidamari no Yu.

Nehan-e March 15th, When the Buddha entered Nirvana

Nehan-e .
It is a Nirvana ceremony of the day of Buddha had past away.

A big scroll depicting the Buddha entering Nirvana will be hanged in the several Buddhist temples in Kyoto.
The ceremony expressing our gratitude to the Buddha's performance.

It is said that at the time of his death the Buddha was sleeping on a bed that had been prepared between two sal trees.

His head to the north, his face to the west, and his right hand for a pillow.

At that time, white flowers bloomed on the sal trees and fell continuously.

Many of his disciples, the king and his family, men and women of all ages, and even birds and animals gathered, sighing with sadness.

The Buddha gave his last discourse, expounding the fundamental truth – even though the physical body dies, the Dharma is eternal.

I went to see one of the Nehan-e scroll in Sennyu-ji temple last year.

A slight smile on the Buddha's face told me the sense of peace.That's where we comes from and where we go back to.

The scent of the soft incense filled me and absorbed into balmy morning breeze.

Shinnyo-do temple

Walk in Yoshida hill, where the shinnyo do temple is.

At some temples in Kyoto, you can see those very precious scrolls once a year.

Shinnyo-do Temple 真如堂
March 1st to 31st
Entrance 600yen.
This area is very quiet and non touristy ,you are able tovisit many temples(free to enter) and shrines in a tranquil local atmosphere.
March 15th, special ceremony is held.
*City Bus 202 from J-hoppers. 25 min ride .Get off at "Kumano -jinja mae" bus stop. 10min walk

Sennyu-ji temple泉涌寺
March 14th-16th
This temple is close to J-hoppers Kyoto.
The temple is surrounded by beautiful forest .
You can visit Imakumano kannon temple and shrines also Tofukuji zen temple by walk.

Biggest Nehan-zu scroll in Japan
Entrance 500yen
March 15th, special ceremony is held.

*2 stops from j-hoppers .City bus 202,207,208 4min ride. 5 to 10 min walk
* From J-hoppers, 20min walk.

Tofukuji-temple 東福寺
March 14th-16th
It's a big scroll and famous for the detail and beauty of the painting.
Free to see the Scroll in the main temple .
Entrance for other gardens 400to 500yen .
Tofukuji is consisted by many sub temples with beautiful zen gardens .
It's worth visiting those gardens .
*1stop by bus City bus get off at "Tofuku-ji" 3min ride . 202,207,208
*From j-hoppers, 10 to 15 min walk.
March 15th, special ceremony is held.
Free sweet soup(amazake) will be offered and Shakuhachi will be played.

Seiryo-ji temple清涼寺
March 15th
Very interesting Kyogen play is held(Entrance is FREE only on this day).
Huge fire will be lit when the night comes to send the spirit of Buddha.
Kyogen play 15:00 16:30 18:00
Special ceremony from 18:30
Taimatsu lit up from 20:00

Saga-Arashiyama area is a great place to spend a day.
*10 to 15 min ride by JR train. 15 to 20 min by walk from the Arashiyama train station.
(This ceremony will be very busy with many people)

Honpo-ji temple 本法寺
March 15th-April 15th
10am-16pm Entrance 500yen

The scroll is one of the three best nehan-zu in Japan.
National treasured garden is open for this period.
* From the Kyoto station,City bus No.9. 40 min ride .Get off at "Horikawa Teranouchi" 3min walk from the bus stop

New item at J-Hoppers Osaka

Which one will you use ???

provided by a famous magician Mr.Yano

Sumo Practice Tour

Grand Sumo Tournament will start in Osaka on the 14th of March.
It must be so exciting and good experience to watch it, and many guests have started coming to stay at J-Hoppers Osaka to watch it. We realize that sumo is quite popular for foreigners more than we Japanese..

Then, we decided to organize "Sumo Practice Tour" from tomorrow, the 8th of March!
Because there is one of place where sumo wrestlers practice till the 14th near J-Hoppers Osaka, so you can go there and watch their training !

Here is the details;

Date : every morning 8th(Mon.) - 11th(Thu.) and 13th(Sat.)
Departure time : 9:30 am
*Maximum 5 persons / day
*Fee : 300 yen
*Approximate time :1.5 hours
*Tour guide : Fumi (our night worker)

Would you like to join??
Please sign up at the reception RIGHT NOW !!!,
as we put this notice yesterday but we've already having many requested..

Grand Sumo Tournament information:

Climbing up to Mt. Daimonji

From since some of my friends mentioned about Mt. Daimonji, the idea of climbing such a wonderful place has never been wiped away from my mind.

I was about to go to Mt. Hiei the other day, however the sky was dark and gray, and my travel company reluctant to go there, so I changed my plan to climb Mt. Daimonji.

I was going to have a little picnic on the top of the mountain. But by the time I left my home, it was already around 2 o'clock and a mischievous monster in my stomach was kicking it hardly(because of hunger I guess), I had my picnic lunch at home.
Then I headed to Mt. Daimonji.

It is located just behind of Silver pavilion. You can climb and come back in one and a half hour (if you are fit enough).

When I arrived at the bottom of the mountain, I needed to go to the bathroom, there is none of course, though. I thought about doing it in the bush but I didn't(just in case).

On the way to the top, I encountered various kinds of people- school kids doing excise, a group of middle aged ladies and friendly old men couple...
I realized that we (including myself) are much more open-minded when we are in the nature. We say hello or how are you or I was even asked my birthday (I don't know why) by completely stranger. The fresh air makes people more relaxed and brings love and peace I felt.

Now I understand why my friends recommended me to go to Mt. Daimonji. I had a great afternoon that day except my bathroom thing worries.

The Last Snow??

It's getting it's getting warmer every day, isn't it?
However Takayama is colder than the other cities such as Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka.

On the 28th of February, we had a snow.

I think this is the last snow for this season.
The snow on the road has almost melted.

It becomes warm day by day , and plum blossoms and cherry blossoms begin to bloom.
However, the difference of the temperature daytime and night time becomes big.
Please prepare a jacket (something you can wear when its cold)when you come to the Takayama.