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!!

Thank you a lot!!

It was my last day of J-Hoppers Osaka yesterday.

It has been 4 years already since I started working as an opening staff,but I can't believe it past so quickly.
It's just because I've had so much fun there,to meet tuns of nice people, to try a lot of new things..

I can't finish writing this blog if I start telling about all guests who I met,everyone has stories and they are all my precious experience.

I left from J-Hoppers Osaka, but I and my husband will open our guesthouse in Matsuyama, Shikoku in early spring 2012, so please come and visit us!!(Please ask Osaka's staff for the details;)

I apology that I can't say "thank you" in person to everyone, but I do hope to see you all in the near future.

Hope everything is ok with everyone, and have a happy New Year!!

must have this in Winter ..

Hello, this is PAPI from J-Hoppers Takayama.

Its snowing this few days.
We need to shovel out every day...

After that our boot get wet.
If your shoes get wet, this will help you!

It's called "shoes dryer" !!

Also, we have boots for lent.
You can enjoy snow!

Welcome Back Everyone!

Only 2 more nights till 2012!
I cannot believe how fast 2011 passed by. I hope everyone had a great year :)

Since the winter holidays began, we have been having familiar faces at J-Hoppers Hiroshima these weeks! I am so happy to see them all again and having so much fun!

Paul from Australia↓↓
His first stay at J-Hoppers Hiroshima was 4 years ago, then he came back in winter in 2009. He was supposed to be back last spring, so it was so good to see him after 2 years! He loves Karaoke as always.

Reece from Australia↓↓
He stayed with us a couple moths ago, then he went to Osaka and Kyoto for about a month. Then he came back to spend this Christmas and New Years with us in Hiroshima! He is a crazy and easy (lazy) guy. :P I know you love us!

Tarro from England (middle) and Miyoko (right)↓↓
Tarro stayed this hostel during the same period as Paul 4 years ago. At that time, there were some guests stayed at hostel most of their time in Hiroshima, so Paul and Tarro made up a "Team Lazy" with some other guests. So it was a small reunion. :)

Miyoko used to work here at J-Hoppers Hiroshima when they were staying. She lives in Australia now, but she is back to visit her family during the holidays. She is so much fun and enjoyed having her as always!

Ethan from the USA↓↓
He stayed with us for a long time this past summer. He has lived in Japan for 5 years and he speaks fluent Hiroshima Ben (Hiroshima dialect!) He lives in Tokyo now but he works an Okonomiyaki restaurant in Hiroshima just for the holiday seasons.

We had so much fun together last weeks!!!

I will be looking forward to seeing you guys soon again!
Thank you for coming back!


It's typical that people saying time goes by so fast around this time.
but yeah, it does. can't believe it's already almost 2012.
looking back the past, 2011 was one of the best years for me.

I had so much fun and I saved lots of money somehow.
I still have to continue to do so though. I hope 2012 is gonna be more awesome than this year.
still my spanish is not good yet, so I will have to work on it.

there is still one more big event: Thailand!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New year everyone!

That fun time of the year is here again!!

Hi there!This is Chika from J-Hoppers Hiroshima guesthouse.
It's getting so cold.It is snowing even now when I am writing  this blog. SAMUI!!!

I can not tostand a cold place,But I LOVE snowboard!!
I started it this January which means I am definitely beginner.
however,I bought my own board this year!!yes!!!

I went to Geioku Kokusai Ski-resort last Friday and Saturday.
I just worried the snow level before I went there.Coz it was not so cold and snow last coupe of days.
However,as soon as I got off a bus and saw a mountain,it flee my brain!

I stayed at a lovely pension which is near the ski we had a plenty of time this time
So we spent all day snowboarding together and had a really good time.

We don't have a I always book a ski bus.It cost around 400yen for return ticket.
Of cause you can hire a snowboard,ski and wear as well.
(If you hire some itmes when you book the seat,you will get a discount!)

All ski resort in Hiroshima has just opened this month,I'm just wondering how many time I do snowboard this season.

If you are interested in it,please come and ask us!

(I'm going to Oosa Ski resort coming friday with Kana from Hiroshima HANA hostel.
Can't wait!!!)

Christmas in Armenia

Christmas day is said for the day of celebrating Christ’s birthday.
It is on Dec 25th in most of Christian countries, except using the Julian calendar. Armenia is one of those.
They celebrate their Christmas day on around Jan 6th or 7th.

I was in Armenia just during their Christmas holiday season without this information (I’ve never heard about Armenia before I went to Central Asian countries…) last year 2011.
I couldn’t have Christmas celebration in Iran.

Soon after turning to 2011, I cross the border between those two countries.
When I arrived at the immigration office of Armenian border, a young woman wearing amazingly shorten skirt welcomed me to her country.
She also wore Santa Claus hat.

I asked her why she wears ‘too Santa’ hat even after Dec 25th.
She looked shocked and almost yelled me ‘This is a Christmas season now!’.
I still couldn’t get the reason of her wearing Santa hat,
then arrived at Yerevan –the capital city of Armenia.

There was huge Christmas tree in front of the station. I thought Armenian people are too lazy to put it back to a storehouse.

‘ What a country… It never happens in Japan. We decorate our city with New Year’s ornaments on the morning of Dec 26th.’

Next day, I took a stroll. City hall, central post office, national museum(it was closed at that time) and so on… huge Christmas trees and Santa Clauses were everywhere!


This question was solved when I got to Georgia, the next country of Armenia.
I was going to meet a man who is doing some research about central Asian countries there and he explained me about the Julian calendar.

Armenia is the oldest country that set the Christianity for their national religion on 301 BC. However the history of this country contains full of tragedy and much of those have not been reported in Japan.

Among backpackers, Armenia is famous for plenty of beautiful ladies, great wines and amazing scenery of Mt, Ararat.
If you miss the chance to have happy Christmas day in your place, you have a spare one in Armenia on January!

How to fight cold ?

This summer we tried to save on electricity bill with our "eco-fan". Finally we haven't used air-con even once and reduced our bill of 30% on July-August compare to last year ! Nice shot.
Now we decided to fight with winter too !

The most disappointing thing in isolation of Japanese house is single layered window. These are huge surfaces from where heat can flew away immediately. Of course I can't ask for replacement of windows in my rental house, but we found another solution : shouji !
Shouji are sheets of thick paper on a wooden frame set up on the window. Even if it's very simple it improves greatly isolation ! Cheap, nature-friendly, traditional, ... it's perfect. You can buy shouji in specialized shop of course, but frame of windows is often irregular so it's hard to find the ones that fit perfectly your place. Order a custom-built one is too expensive. Then let's make it ourself ! For one window, it costed 2,300 yen of wood, paper, glue and metal fastening. We could make it in one hour and are very proud of the result, there is almost no space left between the wall and the frame of the shouji. Of course it's also a great pleasure to make something by our own. Now we are waiting to see how much it will change temperature in our house...
We've also found another interest in shouji. One of the bad point of using them is that room gets darker because the paper stops a little of light from outside. But in winter, this inconvenience becomes rather a advantage. Due to winter season, when we're at home it's still/yet night outside so we have no chance to enjoy sunlight at home anyway. On the contrary, if we turn on light inside the room, it reflects on white paper and the room gets much clearer compare with the window alone. That was a good surprise. By the way, I was very pleased by the name of the pattern of our paper. It's called 'unryu', it means 'dragons cloud'. Nice isn't it ?

Now I had another idea to fight cold. As a computer geek I know well how much computer can generate heat. Put your hand in front of the fan of your laptop and you'll be surprised if you haven't noticed yet. I was wondering how to re-use this heat instead of loosing it. The point is, it's very weak, no way to heat a whole room with one laptop. So I thought how could I concentrate and keep the generated heat where I need it : near me. Here again traditional furniture of japan gave me the solution ! I invented the 'kopyutatsu', which is a play on words 'konpyuta' (computer in japanese) and 'kotatsu'. Kotatsu is a japanese low table with a heating system inside and a kind of futon/skirt around it. The skirt avoid heat to escape from under the table and everybody enjoy putting his legs under the table. Some people eventually end up sleeping under it ! As I'm using my laptop as a central unit (with external screen, keyboard, ...), I don't need to have access to it. Then I put it under my low desk, and I've closed all four sides of the desk with thick fabric. It works like a charm, no more frozen feet ! The greatest pleasure is thinking of it like recycling energy. The weak point is it takes little time to heat up, and you need to use some heavy software to get your computer hot. So it's a good solution only for those who use a lot their computer. If you use it only one hour to look at your email you won't notice any change...

And you what are your tricks to fight cold ?

Sushi Trip!!!

The yellow tail season has come!!!!!!

I am from from Hokkaido, so I had many chance to have fresh Sushi in my life.

To my surprise, I can have more good quality one here in Toyama!

Me and my friends went to Sushi restaurant called "Sushitama"
It is very popular place for locals.

"Yellow tail"⇒"White shrimp"⇒Heaped "Negitoro"

It was beautiful snowy day, so we visited Tanekura and Gokayama.

On the way to Tanekura⇒Tanekura
They do double-cropping system, Rice and Soba
You can see beautiful rice terrace in Summer:)

Kokando(pharmaceutical company)⇒Cafe Kofukyo
⇒Northern Alps wiew⇒Gokayama

Toyama is famous for medicine,I visited the museum.

Cafe Kofukyo⇒I had Black shichimi Japanese pepper taste ice cream.

You can do same experience
if you get "Shirakawago, Gokayama World heritage Coupon"

November 1, 2011-March 29, 2012, Three straight days
(Excluding December 28, 2011-January 6, 2012)

From Nagoya Station  Adalt:14,500 yen

Ryan Thomas Baeris in the national news paper!

This is a big news! One of our guest, Ryan Thomas baer, appears in the famous national news paper on Dec 14, 2011!

I could not believe it! He has stayed here over 2 months this summer.
Although he has checked-out, he often visit us to talk to us.

Why am I surprised?
Because he is just a geek American guy.
He does not have special skill, experiences.

The newspaper introduce this item as international culture exchange as Ju-do.
Actually he came to Japan to learn Ju-do only.

I proud of him that he is interesting in Japanese culture and he decided to come here.

Good luck, Ryan!

Final sprint of 2011

It has been pretty fast day by day in Dec.
I don't do much things though, time blows so quick.

Did you see on News about Kanji( a word) of this year? It was KIZUNA (bond).
It was announced at Kiyomizu Temple. They make one Kanji every year.
What do you think about yours?

The other day, I was doing a walk which my hobby these days since last a few weeks.
It makes me sometimes isolated , but good to think myself as fresh as I could.
I was thinking what I've done this year such as a personal growing stuff.
Well, I've realized that I haven't done anything special for me.

It might be only in Japan that we care of New Years holidays.
Everyone make a wish for next year ,and eat plenty of rice cakes.YUM!

Thus, I already made up my big wish for next year !!!!
I strongly hope my wish will be true.

Anyways, I've met a lot of guests in J-Hoppers Kyoto.
That was all memorable things for me. Thank you very much !
I hope everyone have a happy Merry Christmas and New year with your special one !


The reason why I love Osaka

The guest came and talked to me when I was in the reception, and asked

"Are you from Osaka?"

"No,but I've been here for long time"

Then, she showed me this movie.

Yes, she wanted to try it!
But she was too shy to try random people on a street, so I suggested to try to Mr.Yano!!

Of course he did.. though she was still shy when he came.

Anyway, do you doubt whether Osakan people are really like that?!
Not everyone, but funny strange things has been happen on me often when I just walk on the street.
That's why I love Osakan people and I've lived for long time without being bored.

Do you wanna know if it's true or not?!
We are waiting for your visit!!

NU chayamachi CANDLE NIGHT


There was a special event in Umeda near LOFT on the 14th of December!
There were so many arts of candles, they were so heartful and beautiful.

It was only 2 days in a year, one is in Umeda on 7th of December
and the other one was 14th of December in NU chayamachi!

Don't miss it next winter!!!

Bonenkai is an end of year party for companies and groups in Japan. In England we would say `any excuses for a knees up`. Which means that we just want any I guess you could say its just like a christmas party for non christians. But either way, we all love a gathering with our friends.

My Bonenkai was with the team I play football with. We all had a few beers, some food, gave out a few prizes and then went to Karaoke to sing the night away. I found my way home but had to go to training the next day and it was very tough.

The ski season is also upon us and I will be heading out to as many of Hiroshima's ski fiels as the winter progresses. Its a bit early in the season now but rest assured, there will be plenty of good days to be had in the coming months.

Toyota world cup

Hello,I am Matsu from J-Hoppers Hida Takayama.

FIFA Toyota world cup is becoming a popular topic of conversation at the moment in Japan.

Yusuke and I went to see the soccer match Santos vs Reysol at Toyota stadium in Aichi prefecture.

The main reason for me to go to the match was to see Neymar.
Neymar is said to be one of the best players in the world.

Neymars had a lot of fans at the stadium ↓

Luckily Neymar got the first goal of the game.Final score was 3-1

We became a big fan of him.I hope Santos will win the final

Go for Takao Area

Hi this is minasyo from Kyoto!!

Yesterday, I went to salsa bar in Kyoto kiyamachi sanjo 'EL COYOTE' with J-Hoppers guest.
I'm ashamed to say, I couldn't step the salsa basic steps...
They have free lesson on Friday night(20:00~). I should go to the lesson until the next Kaomise Kabuki season(?).

Autum leaves season still goes on in Kyoto !?

The other day,I went to Takao(northwest side of Kyoto city) to see the autum leaves.
I went to some temples Kozanji, Saimyoji and Jingoji. the highest season had passed but it is still good !! I took some photos and update here !!

No.01 #Kozanji- Temple They have a national treasure Chouju-giga(鳥獣戯画図)
No.02 #Saimyoji-temple is well-known for Autum leaves.
I couldn't take a photo, but they show me a very nice Kannon statue.It is worth seeing!!

No.03 Jingoji-temple This temple sit on the top of the mountain.... I advice you that you should go there first with your full energy...They also have lots of national treasures. they show you those statues like a comic hero's figure in your Otaku friend's room :-).
(So sorry, I couldn't show you the statues photo, too...)

On this autum leaves season at Takao is almost over...but without leaves I recommend you to go up to Takao. Takao area is worth a trip anytime. When you go up, you should buy a reasonable ticket 'Takao free pass' at JRKyoto station. The cost is ¥800 for the round-trip.

J-hoppers Osaka +ECO

We are correcting the used plastic bottle caps.

Do you know why?

Recyclers buy 400 caps as 10yen.

Then 20yen covers the polio vaccinations of one child.

How do you change caps to the polio?

You need to correct massive caps, so NPO companes do this work.

They donate money to UNICEF or developing countries.

How much CO2 comes out when caps are burnning?

400 caps come out about 3.15 kg CO2.

If you recycle them, it helps not only chileren, also the earth.

Recycling caps is very easy and fun.

You do not need to be patient so much. I am sure you would be glad to see putting on them

more and more.

Please remind YOU can save a lot of things by yourself.

How to be a photographer...

When the cold season comes, I feel like reading books written by Michio Hoshino.
This adventure-hearted Japanese photographer used to live in Alaska for 20 years.
He died at the age of 44 (1996), because of being attacked by a bear at Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia.

The autumn leaves took long time to change their color this year in Kyoto.
People have been anxious about if they never will turn the color so much.
The online information has been up-dated every single day by a tourist bureau.
We could make collection of photographs with beautiful autumn leaves,
however still not be able to make them change to beautiful color for it.

Michio Hoshino traveled for 3000km to shoot the photos of a group of caribou for 1 month just by himself.
He just waited the time they come.
Some year they came and other time they didn’t.
He just traveled with his camera and tent even it is minus 50 degrees.

My mother and I visited one temple famous for autumn leaves the other day.
We made a big queue to see the leaves for long long time.
We were even not sure if we were making a queue for right place or not.
We just hold a camera and waited the time we could take one shot with leaves.
We made it finally, fortunately, with not only leaves but also many tourist (mostly old ladies) behind us.

The winter is coming. The wind gets colder and colder day-by-day.
This year's 'The winter slostice (Toji)' is Dec 22nd. From that day the hours of sunlight is longer even we will have the coldest time after that.