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 Night Tour of Naoshima

Following moco*, the staff of J-Hoppers Hida Takayama, I went to see "Setouchi International Art Festival 2010" last week.

I visited Megijima, Ogijima, Naoshima, Teshima and Shodoshima.

This time I talk about the night which I spent in Naoshima.
Fortunately, I met a great man who lives in the island, and he was kind enough to take me on the night tour. He seemed to be an institution on the island. Nearly everyone knows him. I could see how deep he is in love with this island.

He told me so many things about the island and arts. I felt like I met a wonderful master so I actually called him "master".

First we went to watch sea fireflies. The sea at night normally scares me, but not this time. Because we could enjoy sea fireflies flashings. They were amazing and so beautiful.

I also took in the mysterious light from the full moon.

Next, he took me to see a monument featuring the yellow pumpkin. I posed for photos as directed by my master.

Shadow Picture 1 : Dancing
Shadow Picture 2 : The eyes of the pumpkin

Then we walked into the red pumpkin.
This is my version...
My master's one!

The beautiful moon in the background.
Thank you so much my master!!

Lastly, the famous public bath in Naoshima,
"I ♥ 湯"

Look at the gorgeous color

This is something that is common to all islands I visited this time, the houses and the people were so unique, at the same time, natural and faithful. An unaffected warmth of the people there made me feel good. I fell in love with the way they live, act casually and be one's natural self.

my hiding place :-)

Western dining Ponthalassa

Here is my hiding place (and so safety zone:-))
(Because I cannot use my SB mobile phone in here. Here has a bad reception...No wave...)

More important is they have nice whiskey, beer and Japanese SHOCHU(焼酎).
There are always affable regulars and laughing and laughing until deeply night.

Once you go into this bar you will become a good regular.
But... at the moment no guest come this bar from J-hoppers Kyoto...(even in our staff)

That's why here is still my hiding place...Yes!!

Don't call me tonight, too!!

Access Map as below;
I'm in here! ⇒ Ponthalassa


Do you know where Shiga prefecture is?
Then, how about Biwa lake, the biggest lake in Japan??
Yes, ... maybe?

I feel so sorry to know that most of foreigners don't know about Shiga and how interesting and beautiful place there. It's because most of them visit Kyoto and spend a lot of time, then move to Tokyo or Osaka, Hiroshima etc., so do not have a time for Shiga and skip.. Also, there are very few information of Shiga. See lonely planet, they used about 60 pages for Kyoto, but only 3 pages for Shiga!!

Shiga is located in north of Kyoto and it's very easy to get there, even from Osaka, it takes about 1 hour by JR train. I've became a fun of Shiga since my friend took me there several times for cycling, camping, visiting huge Miho museum and the unique temple on the small island in Biwa lake, seeing cherry blossom.. Especially, Nagahama town is my favorite now and let me tell about their awesome art festival held in every October.

Nagahama is located on the north east of Biwa lake. The city center was developed and renamed
by Toyotomi Hideyoshi when Hideyoshi moved his center of administration from Odani castle.
So, it has very old history though, they had very hard time to energize and get visitors (tourists). But since they renovated their old shopping street as "Kurokabe squeir", they were success and now one of popular town.

They also have been having a lot of event through the year, and ART IN NAGAHAMA is one of them. For these 2 days, hundreds artist from all over Japan get together to this small town and show their art works, for example painting, jewely,pottely, glasses, instrument and calligraphy
etc. etc.. and lots of yummy local food, too!
You can spend all day there, so get out from Kyoto if you're fedding up to see temples ?!

Date: the 2nd and the 3rd of October (Saturday&Sunday)
Place : around Kurokabe squeir, Nagahama

Tsubosaka Temple

It was long time ago since we haven't visited a new temple of our pilgrimage. But our schedule allowed us to enjoy one of the last summer day in Nara prefecture, to visit the Tsubosaka Temple (website, google map). Its located atop the Takatori village, in a narrow fold of the mountain. This village is quite surprising for its old houses. They are very well maintained, still inhabited, and very numerous. It's probably not as famous as others old towns in Japan, but probably should be. The path going to the temple cross the forest behind the village is a short and enjoyable walk (even though if you ask for directions you'll be told its impossible to walk, as usual). You can also take the bus from Tsubosakayama station. The forest was crowded with insects, and I could see for the first time a flying praying mantis, wonderful ! The temple is quite beautiful. There is a lot of giant statues, including presents from the indian government, a very old pagoda, wall paintings and carvings. It is dedicated to eye diseases. If you have old glasses, you can come to throw them here.

From Kyoto station, by Kintetsu line, 1h, 1810 yen (there are also one day pass available)

And now some pictures :

Takatori village

The path in the wood

Tubosaka temple

Niou guardian


Roof detail

General view

This is a very strange insect we've seen at the Tsubosakayama station.
The head looks like a seahorse, the tail looks like a scorpion, 4 coloured wings, very long antenna, big like a mid-size butterfly. I'm really wondering what's this !! If you have any idea ...

Oden party!!

Hello, I'm moco*:)

It's getting cold here these days.

We had "Oden" party at J-hoppers

Hida Takayama yesterday.

"Oden" is a typical Japanese hodgepodge

suitable for colder seasons.

Many different foods are boiled together

in a large pot
with a soup seasoned

with soy sauce and dried bonito flakes.

The ingredients include hard-boiled eggs,

Konnyaku, Japanese radish,
fishpaste cake,

deep-fried ball of fish paste and Hanpen


Hot mustard, Miso, and Yuzu pepper

goes really well with Oden:)

We enjoyed "Oden" and local sake!!

Here comes masked man!!

Hi there!!
This is Chika from J-Hoppers Hiroshima.

As you know,w work at guesthouse which means I meet lots of people from around the world.Not only Japan.
Meeting and talking to people is nice and cool.So I like this job!!

The other day,I met 2 japanese guys from Kanazawa and Nagano.
They said that they were traveling around Japan by motorbike.

One of the guys,he is going to Hokkaido at the end!!
That's quite long way!!But it is no problem at all for them.

When they left the hostel,he asked me to took a photo.
I tried to take a photo,at that time,suddenly he started to look for something from his backpack.

After they found the stuff ,look at me and hold a pose!!

Look at this photo !!!They have own mask!!!!!!
I have never met the people are traveling with their own mask before.
That's so funny,So I had to take a photo by my camera as well.

In the morning,I reconfirmed how much I like this job!!!!
One of the guys said that he is coming back next month.

We are looking for meeting you and your mask again:-)

The Sunset in Tomonoura

Hello there, this is Masa from J-Hoppers Hiroshima :)

Last weekend, I took another staff of this hostel, Chika to my Hometown, Fukuyama.

Fukuyama is the second biggest city in Hiroshima located on the east side of the prefecture. It takes about 2 hours either by bus or train from Hiroshima city.

Recently, it became famous because of Hayao Miyazaki's movie, "Ponyo."
The village where the story takes place is inspired by Tomonoura.

It is a small
seaside town in the south of Fukuyama. When Hayao Miyazaki had a trip to Tomonoura with his employees, he fail in love with thw town. And then he came back and rented a house there for 2 months to get ideas for the movie.

Anyway, it was Chika's first visit to Fukuyama, so I took her to Tomonoura.

We took very interesting Sauna style Onsen first.
(Miyoko has posted about it before, so please check her old post.)

After we got refreshed, we walked around the town.
It was crowded with many tourist in the daytime, but there were almost nobody at the sunset.

It was so quiet, but very pretty.

There is the historical townscape on old stone-paved paths.
Enjoy exploring the town with feeling to be in the cute movie!

The longest waterfall in Japan

Hi there ,I am Matsu from J-hoppers Hida Takayama.

This time I went to Tateyama in Toyama prefecture.
It takes 2 and half hours by car from Takayama.

Tateyama is known for Tateyama -Kurobe Alpine Route.The route is 90km route .That connects Toyama with Nagano via sacred mountains.
You can enjoy the magnificent view with different transportation:cable car bus train,trolley bus and your two feet.

This is the website of Kurobe Alpine Route as below.

Actually there is the longest waterfall at the bottom of Tateyama Alpine Route.
We parked my car near the waterfall and walked there

How amazing!It is 350m from the bottom.It is the longest waterfall in Japan.

You get spray of water from the waterfall.Even we are 50m away from the waterfall.
That makes you feel good!!

One more thing I have to say is that there is another waterfall showing up on the right side when it rains really hard.
It is 500m from the bottom.

Can you believe that?

Driving to Shirahama

Hi all !
It's Azusa from J-Hoppers Kyoto.

How are you enjoying with the heat of late summer?
I was finally knocked down from this inconceivable heat.
I feel much better than before though.

These days, I always stayed inside during daytime.
Then I realized that I did not have a memory of this summer.

So, one of my friend and I decided to go somewhere
near Kyoto,but had to be countryside.

We drove down to SHIRAHAMA which is in Wakayama Pref.

First, we went to ' SENJYOJIKI'
*A rocky point near Shirahama beach

How adorable !!!

There were many different colors of the rocks.
I guess white one is very rare.

You can also reach to the ocean from the rocky area.

Then after, we headed to "SANDANBEKI"
* (Three Step Cliff)
Cliffs along on the ocean edge that are 50 meters high.
It is said that pirates (kumano suigun) used to inhabit the caverns
; the remains of their dwellings can be seen.

Look! How high it was !
It was like somebody pull in to the ocean.
SCARY !!!! but beautiful .

There is a big cave that you can go inside by lift down to the ocean.

At last, we found out that
there was a very famous beach close by.

Shirahama means WHITE SAND BEACH
As you can see the pictures below.
There was very comfy and soft sand on the beach.

I had a nap on the beach and got TAN !!!!!!!
I think it's nice to have tan skin.
It looks very healthy and energetic for me.

I had a great day off and got a summer memory !

It only takes about 2 hours drive from Kyoto City.
If you have spare time, why don't you visit and be relaxed there?

Bon odori dance

Bon odori is a people's traditional folk dance performed during Obon period (generally in August).
In Hida region, there are many types of bon odori by village/town.
Takayama also has some of the original folk songs and bon odori.
"Hida Yansa" is one of the most popular bon odoris in Takayama.
The way of dancing is simple, rhythmical and easy to join.
This summer, I went to join some bon odori festival in Takayama city with my family and friend.

Bon odori has around a 500 year history. Like many other traditional dances in the world, early bon odori was a religions dancing to send spirits of ancestors to the other world.
And across the ages, it got to have an aspect of entertainment in the difficult life of ancient people.

If you are interested in bon odori more, please visit the following website.

The site is a general guide of bon odori.
It tells you the history of bon odori, introduction of famous bon odori all over Japan, how to join bon festival and dance bon-odori.
If you read this and get more interested in it, please visit Japan in next summer. Let's dance together !!

Flowers of the Season

Hello. This is Papi from J-Hoppers Hida Takayama Guest House.

I went to Honoki Daira Ski area to see the cosmos.
How to get to this place from Takayama.There are buses to "Shinhotaka" "Hirayu" "Kamiko-chi"
This place is between Takayama and these spots.
When you would like to go these spots, you need stop and transfer your bus at Hirayu or Honokidaira.
You can enjoy hot spring at Hirayu, and you can enjoy beautiful flowers at Honokidaira.

The bus timetable is at the lobby J-Hoppers Hida Takayama.
Also, you can check this website.

On the 4th and 5th, they have a Cosmos Festival.
4th : food and local craft shop
5th : food and local craft shop
live music, small zoo, balloon performance.