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!!

Kyoto has loads of things to see and do, but what to do when you feel
like needing more space.
Somewhere we can stay touching the traditional culture but quieter place...
I take a short trip to beautiful place around Kyoto.
Kansai is so rich in interesting cities and sights and you can easily
access those places by train and buses.
Nara is one of the great place to take a day trip from Kyoto.
With JR , you can take a direct train by JR , Also Kintetsu line is
50 to60min by JR , 690yen one way. Kintetsu line takes 45to 70min. 610yen

Nara is a first permanent capital of Japan.
The place is rich in old culture and you can take a breath at wide open park and deep forests.

There is an enormous Buddha statue in the largest wooden building(temple) in the world.
Also the statue itself is the biggest Buddha statue in the world.

When you walk up to Nigatsu-do and Sangatsu-do temple halls, superb view of Nara is waiting for you.
Get lost in the middle of old Nara Machi town area..the atmosphere of this quaint place take you back to good old days.

Here and there, deers are giving cute glitter eyes for a visitors.
(Watch out! they can be aggressive when you have foods!)

On this day, I took a few hours walk in Nara, just followed my feeling,
I've stretched my path to KasugaTaisha Shrine.

It's a World heritage sacred shrine.
I enjoyed long forest path leading me to the shrine.

The approaches to the shrine are lied with hundred of lanterns, forests are quietly shrouded me with spiritual air.

I was amazed by huge sacred tree standing in the middle of the shrine and also the way they re-build the shrine completely every 20years according to the Shinto tradition.

I decided to stay in the forest for a while. The sounds of animals and birds were very different from the one I can hear in the forest of Kyoto.
Nara is a special place which make me to feel the origin of Japan in a very natural sense.

Nice Curry and Ceramics Shop "The 100th Monkey", just two minutes walk from J-Hoppers Hiroshima

After all a staple dish for the lunch in Hiroshima is Okonomiyaki, but unfortunately, we cannot eat only Okonomiyaki so every day. Therefore I'd like to recommend a nice curry shop "Hyaku-Banme-no-Saru (The 100th Monkey)" which is just two minutes walk from J-Hoppers Hiroshima.

Because they do not take out a big signboard, you need to watch out to find it. From J-Hoppers Hiroshima, please walk towards the right hand from the entrance, turn right at a crossing with the coin laundry, walk straight down until the first traffic signal, and turn left, you can find a small but pretty signboard on your left.

In the store's interior, it's like a cozy coffee shop, the ceramics of various kinds from teacups to bowls are displayed all over the wall. These ceramics are for sale. You can buy them if you'd like.

There are three kinds of curry, in strong order of the hotness, a India style, a Medium style, and a European style. There is the combination of different topping in each. For a medium large serving is plus 100yen, for a large serving is plus 200yen, and a salad and dessert set are plus 300yen.


** India style (spicy) **
* Chicken curry 680 yen
* Shrimp curry 780 yen

** Medium style (blended) **
* Vegetables curry 800 yen
* Mushroom curry 800 yen

** European style (mellow) **
* Pork curry 680 yen
* Beef curry 680 yen
* Shrimp curry 780 yen

This is a large serving of the India style chicken curry that I ordered this time. It's a super large!! Three kinds of pickles come with the curry. These pickles goes so well with the curry.

This curry is curry of homey taste rather than real curry. You can enjoy rich taste with so many stewed onion and chicken in the curry sauce.

He is the master chef of this curry shop. I feel like his calm, intellectual personality being reflected to delicious curry.

If you would like to eat one of the best curry in Hiroshima, I recommend "The 100th Monkey", just two minutes walk from J-Hoppers Hiroshima. They open 11:50-19:00.

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Katsura Imperial Villa -Beauty of Japanese Garden & Architecture-

Time flies since I moved to Kyoto in 2005. I have visited tons of shrines, temples and festivals. There are still two big-name sightseeing spots left untouched. One is Kokedera (Moss Temple), and the other is Katsura Imperial Villa.

The last week, I finally got that famous Japanese architecture and design I was hoping to visit. Katsura Imperial Villa's name as the goal of simple yet elegant modern art got well known in 1933 by a German architect "Bruno Julius Florian Taut". Surely there are some Japanese critics and architects who focused on its beauty

Once you step into the property, you will see elaborately decorated ornaments, the paper of the sliding doors, alignment of stones in front of each buildings, roofs and grates.

Here is how to apply the tour, you must make a reservation by online, or at the counter of Imperial Household Agency in Kyoto Imperial Park.

Shiretoko Uni Is A MUST !

At this time of year, I have something to look forward to.
It is seafood called Shiretoko Uni (Uni means Urchin).

I reckon some of you might have had Uni before,
but do you ever wonder what kind of Uni that was?

Currently more than 800 kinds of Uni have been identified in the world. And sixteen of them are fit to eat.

First, Bafun Uni is considered to be the most mouth-watering kind of all. What I want to introduce to you this time is Ezo Bafun Uni; Short-Spined Sea Urchin.
In fact, it is more than just Ezo Bafun Uni, very hard-to-find one because of its habitat which is the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido, a World Heritage Site.

Then what makes this Shiretoko Uni so special?
It is because of what they eat. It grows up on Laus Kelp.
You know, kelp has deep flavors and a lot of nutrition.
Especially, Laus kelp is one of the three high-grade kelp.
In addition, the open season for Shiretoko Uni fishing is limited in time.

Fortunately, I have a friend in Laus, Shiretoko who sends it to me every year. Put some Shiretoko Uni on rice, place a few drops of soy sauce on it and eat.
What a blissful moment! I am always lost for words! I mean it.
You cannot have this taste and feeling of luxury anything else.

It is said to be a life-changing taste.
Please experience them yourself once in a lifetime.

Good-Bye Snow season -- Hello Flower season :-)

The other day I went to Snow Mountain in Takayama.
Of course I stayed Takayama J-Hoppers :-) Thank you for the Tacos dinner Party!!

From Takayama JR station. I took a local bus to HONOKI DAIRA snow resort (It takes about 40min).

Compared with Hokkaido's snow to Gifu's snow are...
But Good sunny day!! and Good mountain course!!
They have a peaceful atmosphere and still keep old style Japanese ski resort.
Lunch menu are RAMEN, CURRY RICE...and more Japanese.
And they have Good Onsen spa!! but I couldn't take a Onsen spa...I didn't have enough time... I spent almost all time for riding.

Actually I cannot ride like a Shaun White. I don't have a special one make trick like him.
But I think I have a same strong mind with him.
That's 'ENJOY SNOW BOARDING!!' even if the snow is wet and heavy :-)

Saa, my next snow trip will be on the next winter season 2010-2011 10months later.
(I miss epic snow...)
Until the next winter, I'll enjoy the other seasons in Kyoto.
At first, I 'll enjoy Flower spring season with by bike!!

Winter ===> Spring
Snowboarder ===> Cyclist

Okunoshima,,,Poison Gas Island

Have you heard of Okunoshima before??
Okunoshima is small island located in the in the Inland Sea of Japan in the city of Takehara,Hiroshima prefecture.

It takes around 2 hours a bit more from Hiroshima city to the Island.
You can get there by JR Kure line and a ferry which runs from Tadanoumi station.

There are campsites, walking trails and places of historical interest on the island.
Besides,there is a congress-hotel ,a six-hole golf course and a small camping ground. Visitors are able to swim in the clean water surrounding the island, regardless of the tide level.

It is often called Usagi shima, or Rabbit Island, because of the numerous wild rabbits that roam the island - these creatures are rather tame and will come close to you.
And also it is called 'doku gasu shima(poison gas island)'.Because the island played a key role during World War Ⅱ as a poison gas factory for much of the chemical warfare hat was carried out in China.

I was born and raised in Hiroshima.But I had not known about this island for long time .
So I visited the Island to knew what was going on the Island in the past.

There is the poison gas museum in the Island.
Only two rooms large, the small building provides a basic overview of the construction of the plant, working conditions and the effects of poison gas on humans. Families of workers who suffered the aftereffects of the harsh working conditions donated numerous artifacts to help tell the story of the workers' plight when handling the gas with poor safety equipment that often leaked.

The second room shows how poison gas affects the human body through the lungs, eyes, skin, and heart. Images of victims from Iraq and Iran add to the message of the museum: that the effects of poison gas are devastating to people and should not be used in any war.

Because of the secrecy involved, people around the world and in Japan do not realize the active role the island played creating gas for the war effort. This is why the museum was created: to inform the world, especially the Japanese, about the aggressive stance that the country adopted.

The museum is aimed mainly at the Japanese people, but English translations are provided on the overall summary for each section.

This time,I visited this Island and could know what was going on the Island, what our Japanese did to other people in the past,and realized how horrible chemical weapon is.

Usually when one thinks of Hiroshima,they think of it as a bomb dome or peace park.
Now I think that want everyone to came and visit to this Island as well,And feel something!!

peace in the world!!!!

NABE (Japanese hot pot)

Have you eaten NABE(Japanese hot pot)??
You might had one in J-Hoppers if you joined one of our party in winter, because Nabe is very popular food in winter especially and most Japanese love it.

Nabe is very good meal for party and you can eat a lot and so many kinds vegetables and meats etc, then make our body warm.. but the way to cook is quite simple and easy. You just make soup, and cut all ingredients, then put everything into soup!
Also, there are many kinds of Nabe and we can enjoy different tastes..
I think they are the reasons why we love Nabe.

Would you like to know how to make soup? Yes, of course you can make by yourself, but we have some kinds of soup and can not explain all of them here now.

But, the easiest way is going to a supermarket and buying a commercially available soup!
It must be good for souvenir,because you can teach Japanese taste to your family/friends when you go home!
Also,I've been so surprised, as food companies have launched new tastes of Nabe soup, especially this winter.. so, we've had much more choices!!

Let me show some soups which you can buy in a supermarket.

Goma Tonyu Nabe

Soy milk with sesame,and a bit miso.
Very rich taste

Tomato Nabe

Taste exactly tomato.
please don't forget to make risotto
with cheese at the end.. sooooo yum!

Bijin Nabe
"Bijin"means "beautiful woman"
.. Can't you help eating it ;)!?
Chicken stock soup with Japanese sake.
It's healthy and it contains plenty of collagen.

Curry Nabe
Most foreigners likes Japanese curry,
so this must be your favorite.

Kimuchi Nabe
It's Korean taste,
but Korean food is very popular in Japan also
and we love it

Chanko Nabe

It's commonly eaten by Sumo wrestlers
as part of a weight gain diet.
based with chicken stock soup,and
add soy souse or miso, etc.

Well.. I think I should stop now, as I'm getting so hungry..

“Dish SAKAIMACHI” (cafe) in hiroshima

Good morning!
It was freezing cold and snowing yesterday but it is a little warmer and would be a great day for travel today.

Today, i recommend a nice cafe “Dish SAKAIMACHI” around J-hoppers Hiroshima that I went to a couple days ago with 2 of our staff.

A picture from outside

inside is like this

We had a pasta lunch(950yen)with salad,some breads and pasta.
It was soo tasty.

It is fancy cafe with so many dishes.They use fresh vegetables farmed in Yamaguchi.
It is good thing that we know where the vegetables came from,isn't it?

it is a 5 min walk from J-hoppers Hiroshima.
if you are interested ,please ask at the reception!!

Miyazaki trip

Miyazaki is located down south of Kyushu.
I graduated from a university in Miyazaki.
It has been 3 years since I visited the city.
It is said Miyazaki is famous for Mango fruit,local chicken,etc....
However,surfing comes first for me.
I would say Miyazaki is the best place to surf in Japan.
It always catches the swells.You can surf throughout the year.
Actually most of my uni life was occupied with surfing.
I enjoyed surfing this time of the year as well.

Why don't you go to Miyazaki if you surf!!

unique washboard rock formations

I had a Tonkotsu Ramen which is a local food in Fukuoka.Yummy~!!

Two days enjoying Hida Takayama

At the end of January I spent two days/two nights in the J-Hoppers Takayama. It was the second time for me. Last time was in summer and I was impatient to see the winter side of this beautiful rural area.
I used a maybe uncommon way to go there, but I think it maybe usefull to some customers so let me first introduce this. There is a night train called "Express Kitaguni". It goes from Osaka to Niitsu, 585km, departure at 23:27, arrival at 8:10. By changing at Touyama for the Takayama line you can reach the Takayama train station a little before 8:00 for a total of around 8.000 yen. By sleeping in the train you save one accomodation night and you're ready to visit from 8:00 in the morning ! That's a good way to optimize your budget and schedule.
And here comes in picture what I did/saw during these two days ...

The emblematic sarubobo can still be found everywhere.

The morning of the first day weather wasn't very good. Cloudy, snowy and moreover completely unstable. I was running during the short intervals when sunrays hit the city, and dawdling under the snow, trying to shoot something anyway just in case sun wouldn't come back.

The Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine kept me busy for a little time. The snow on top of differents shrine's architecture element was offering some funny views.

I didn't knew this mean of protection from the snow for trees or others : three branches assembled as a pyramid.

It looks better with some sunshine, but temperature were too high and snow was a little bit too melted for my pics. Some would say I'm never satisfied ...

Let's go back to the city and its old private house. It's still so peaceful here. As I've already visited the Jinya, this time I went to another one more to the north of the city. It was as well interesting and less tourists, just few students more interested about the gaijin than the house ...

Lunch time ! I hadn't tried yet this local specialty : Hoba miso. That's excellent ! Just take care to your fingers, avoid touching the burning pot like I did !!

In the afternoon I went back to the old houses area, looking for some interesting points of view...

After a short walk I could reach this little hill from where you can enjoy a good view of the whole city.

On the evening, I went with Iida-san and another customer to Hida no Sato. If you can't go to Shirakawago it's definitely worth seeing it. Especially these days there was a light up of the old Gasshouzukuri.

Nice lighting, nice houses, nice evening.

Don't miss the free amazake and shitakecha (how come I haven't noticed it !!)

Next day, thanks to the organized tour by Kurokawa-san, I went to Shirakawago. It was a pity that snow on the roof was almost completely melted but there was still some gorgeous scenes there.

I love snow landscapes !

When you're tired of the cold, get a korokke, deep fried smashed potatoes ball with minced meat. It will keep you warm longer than a kairo !

Doesn't it looks like a fairy tales illustration ?

After Shirakawago, we rushed to a small event with minyou dances. Short but still interesting.

And then once again to Shirakawago, to enjoy the light up of the city. But the foggy weather spoiled the view and my battery ran short.
Time to go back to Takayama for a nice party at Wada, yet described by Sir Yuya a few days ago.

J-Hop Tour Hida Takayama - We provide you with a budget bus tour to Shirakawa-go from Takayama. Shirakawa-go ( Site with traditional thatched roof houses. ) is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. We will take you back to the Japanese good old days. View the website of J-Hop Tour Hida Takayama