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!!

Mt. Kuraiyama.

I went hiking to Mt. Kuraiyama.
I like that mountain very much,

because it is so mysterious!!!

You'll see a lot of huge stones on a walking trail.

Anyone doesn't know where are they come from...

It was a beautiful day, I enjoyed fresh green so much.

I could see Mt.Norikura, Mt.Ontake and Mt.Haku-san clearly
 from the view point!!!

There was a water point, the water was so clear and pure water.

I was a great relief that I didn't see bears...!!


Japanese restaurant in Hiroshima

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

Today,I'll introduce you one of my favorite restaurant in Hiroshima.
"KOGANE" is the cheap and nice local restaurant which is located in the downtown aria.

The restaurant doesn't look fancy and gorgeous at all.
But I like their atmosphere and also all dishes are so good and cheap!

There are so many dishes in the refrigerator.
So you can pick up and take them back to your table.

There is a price tag with the plate,so you do not worry about the price:-)

Today's lunch set :650yen!!

I had a grilled fish and Kinpira gobou(chopped burdock root (and sometimes carrot) cooked in sugar and soy sauce)and rice and miso soup!
It cost just 650yen! Yay !!! So cheap!!!
And they heat the  dishes up if you want.

After you enjoy the mieal,you can order Kakigori(shaved ice).
They make sauce and sweet bean past by themselves.

If your would like to try the restaurant where doesn't say in the guide book,
highly recommend this restaurant for you :-)


I started yoga from the end of March.
There are many kinds of yoga and I do Bikram Yoga.
All Bikram Yoga classes run for 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures.
And we practice in a room heated to 40℃ with a humidity of 40% so every time I sweat a lot about I can wring out the sweat of my yoga wear.
I have never tried the other type of yoga but I guess this is the hardest one.

My body is not flexible but I feel it is getting better already even though I practice just once a week.
And I need to keep practicing at least 4 months anyhow (that is their policy), hope I have a better body when it becomes summer:)

My friend's baby !

I found out my friend's baby is a girl :)
I can't wait to make something for her...;D

I'm thinking to make bibs!

This is also cute!
Good for spacial day!

So cute!
I can't wait to see her!!!

September is coming soon :)

A big controversy over "Okonomiyaki" in Hiroshima and Osaka

Hi, it's Misa from Takayama.

By the way, when you hear "Okonomiyaki", what does it remind you of ?

This one?(Osaka's style)

Or this one? (Hiroshima's style)

As you can see, we have two different types of Okonomiyaki in Japan, one is from Hiroshima, and the other one is that of Osaka.

Since I was born in Hiroshima(and was growing up in Shiga), and I definitely have handed down spirits of Hiroshima from my family there, so I would like to emphasize Hiroshima's one is best!

I know people in Osaka, they definitely have grown some arguments towards me, and am willing to accept it as I know it eventually should end up admitting both are really good and they are the one we can be proud of in Japanese foods.

But when it comes to how to make them, it is obvious that the one from Hiroshima takes more times and more complicated to make it.
I learned how to make it from my mom when I was 12years old, she sensed that was right time to teach.
Lately, I made it for my close friend who used to work with me at my previous company.
She is going back to her home to give a birth in a few month, and before that I made it for her since this is her favorite.
It is always good to see people happy having foods I made for them.
(The Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima style in the photo above, this is what I made it lately!!) 

Anyway, in this way, there has been a controversy over those two Okonomiyaki.
Yet I cannot deny both are really tasty, there is one thing that I strongly would like to insist as I have been afraid there might be misunderstanding about the Otafuku souse which always come with Okonomiyaki in either style.

This souse plays a very important role and even is a sort of something decisive for the taste of Okonomiyaki.

However, I reckon many people think this souse is made in Osaka. But it is not true.
Otafuku company which produce this souse, was established in Hiroshima long time ago.(the predecessor of Otafuku was there even before WWⅡ.)

"Otafuku"(お多福) this means "ample happiness", and became the company's new name( its product's brand name as well) when they had gotten on restoration of their business after WWⅡ, wishing more happiness would come people in Hiroshima and Japan.


day off

I visited my friend who lives near Mt. Rokko.
This time was just for having lunch.
We sometimes hike together when I visit her. 

The highest peak of Mt. Rokko is 941m which provides the pleasant green backdrop to the city of Kobe. There are many courses for hiking. I like rock garden course to all the way to Arima hot spring. This course is very popular and takes about 4 hours to finish. We can enjoy mountain hiking and hot spring all in one day.
Next time when I visit her, we definitely hike again!

Kimono day!

Hey, this is Yulia from J-Hoppers Kyoto!
This week on Monday just for 1 day I turned into a classical tourist in Japan, who rented a kimono and went to visit one of the most beautiful temples in Kyoto, Kiyomizudera.
At the first place, I was surprised with a number of kimono rental shops in Kyoto. One of the cheapest solutions was found in Yumeyakata at Gojo Street. 2500Yen for kimono and 1500Yen for hair design. So we made an appointment and went to see how it works.
Actually, for me it was the first time to wear a kimono. But living a year in Kyoto gave me opportunity to see many of them on Japanese and foreign women. Therefore, I already had an idea about the color I wanted. But my expectations didn't really match reality. First, we were asked to choose a kimono. Room was full of colorful silk. But it turned out to be that for tall women like me (170 sm) there were not so many options. I wanted some tender peach and beige tone kimono, but for my height there were only bright colors like green or blue, which made me quite frustrated. Anyway, after choosing my kimono, it was turn of obi. Luckily, the staff helped to find a proper one. Yellow, shining obi! Never thought it is my style! But let's try!
When all set was chosen, we went to a changing room, very spacious place with at least 10 kimono professionals. One layer after another I was tightly bound with obi. HARD TO BREATH!
In 15 minutes my hair was done and I was standing in front of the mirror quite amazed. Here is the result!

Visiting Kiyomizu Temple was nice! I will try to erase from my memory 20 minute hike in tight kimono and all the heat. But it was a great day! Hope i will have opportunity to wear a kimono again!

My events in May

This is Kimie from J-Stay.

This season of new green leaves is the best for jogging, hiking and cooking for stock food for hottest summer. 
On this occasion I want to introduce my events in May. 

(Tea Factory tour)
After hearing this children song for News green tea I feel early summer is coming!  
According to Japanese old calendar, it is the best season for new tea leaf  counting 88 nights from the first day of spring.

One my day off on 13th May I went to tea factory in Uji with my friends. It become an annual event in May. This company "KOYAMAEN" organize tea factory tour during New tea season from the begging of May.  
After viewing video about process to make several tea, Guide bring us showing the  following process. She came from Chile, South America. She said Tea changed my life. This phrase impressed me.  

1. Tea picking experience
2. Factory tour
3. All you can drink Mattacha (Nomi Hodai) and Green tea sticky rice cake

We call one dose for one cup of Mattacha tea bowl. It came from medicine when brought tea because it was originally from Chinese medicine. We learned Tea ceremony "Sado" developed in Japan it self such as meditation, education for Samurai and elegant manners for Japanese lady passing era. 

There is big difference from black tea. Stop oxidation with process to steam and dry immediately tea leaves within 2 hours. 

mini museum in tea room "Tokonoma" today's topic is New tea leave with flower Ayama 

tea plantation near factory
Sun guard for tea leave
Time limit is within 2 hours for steam 
dried tea leaf taste like sea weed.

only the first and second tea leaves for Mattcha

Monks learn as well for meditation? 
 fresh greenery 

(Preparing Stock food for summer )

In grocery store its easy to find seasonal vegetables and fruts, Japanese pepper "Sansho" and Plum (Ume)

Sansho helps fish plates especially  for putting fragrance  and getting rid of odor of fish.

My friend send me Ume(Plum) without any use of pesticides. Because I want to  have Ume without any use of pesticides after reading one cooking book written by Tatsumi Yoshiko (Ms).
One day my friend updated on Facebook asking someone wants to have them free...My wish came true!!!

 I used to make Ume shu (Plum Licor) in preparation for day of the ox during the hottest season. But this time I prepared Ume Syrup without licor. 
I am looking forward to tasting it every night after my job. 
Thanks for gift of this season 

My bible for stock food by Yoshiko Tatsumi 

Enjoy your early summer!



Hello. I'm Hiro from J-Hoppers Hiroshima!

If you have a chance to come to Japan in this season, I recommend you to go beer garden!!

It's a beer restaurant located in open space on the rooftops or gardens of department stores and hotels for limited time period between May and September.
I usually go there with my friends on the way back from work or shopping.
Here are some nice places where you can enjoy Japanese beer garden in Hiroshima!!

Fukuya hatchobori department store
6-26 ebisucho naka-ku,Hiroshima(082-249-2156)
2 min walk from Hatchobori tram station

Date:May 21st-September 20th(5pm-10pm/last call 9:30pm)

Price:(buffet) 3000yen for men/2700yen for ladies/1500yen for middle and high-school students/1200yen for children/kids under 6 are free

(BBQ) 3300yen for men/3000yen for ladies/1800yen for middle and high-school students/1500yen for children/kids under 6 are free

Mitsukoshi department store
5-1 ebisucho naka-ku,Hiroshima(0120-44-2741)
1min walk form Ebisucho tram station

Date:April 28th-September 26th(17:30pm-22pm/last call 21:30pm)

Price:3100yen for men/2900yen for ladies/1600yen for middle and high-schoolstudents/children over 4 are 800yen

SOGO department store
6-27 motomachi naka-ku ,Hiroshima(082-225-7776)
1min walk from Kamiyacho-nishi tram station

Date:May 1st-September 13th(5pm-22pm/last call 21:30pm)

Price:3100yen for men/2900yen for ladies/1900 yen  for middle and high-school students/1300yen for children/free for kindergarten

Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy Japanese summer!!!


Kuroi ame

Cannes Film Festival 2015 is finished on May 24th!

I, personally had paid attention to one of the juries, his name is Xavier Dolan, a French Canadian director/ very good looking man. I follow his Instagram as well and it was pleasure to see him wearing so many nice looking suits for this 12 days...
Oh, this is his speech last year at Cannes when he got a Jury Prize just in case you are interested in.

Speaking of Cannes, Shohei Imamura, a Japanese movie director got Palme d'Or before. I watched his film named 'Kuroi Ame (Black Rain) 黒い雨' the other night.
The story is about an aftermath of an atomic bomb of Hiroshima.
The movie was made in middle of 1980's, so actually it's not so old but it looks old because of the way he edits.
Japanese scenery has been changed a lot compare to the one in this film, but how people think and act have not changed so much I feel. So it is good idea to watch it before or after coming to Japan to understand what Japanese people are.

This is what I often do before going to travel to other countries actually.
But Mad Max did not help to understand Australian people...Anyways, I am looking forward to seeing new Mad Max in June!

a class reunion

Hello!! This is MAYU from J-Hoppers Hiroshima:)

It's getting hotter day by day... So hot...

I can imagine how hot will be this summer!!

I am 31 years old by the way.

31... 31... time goes so------- fast...

I attended class reunions last night.

I met some of my childhood friends and a teacher 

of elementary school.

everyone is over 30 years old...

It's like this picture.

 In the middle of life.  It's like an Autumn.

How's going your life? good? great? so-so?

My life is going good. I like this life.

But... Where am I going? Am I alright?

I have so many anxiety about my future.

My teacher said to me 「You've got conservative.」

Why not??

Autumn makes me lonely and conservative.

BUT Anyway, I'm really enjoying my life everyday:)

It's coming soon a winter.

I need to make ready for the winter.

 What a wonderful world!!!!

Are you a Starbucks fan?

Dear Starbucks Lovers!

When you are tired of traveling in foreign countries, You need to eat/drink something you used to eat/drink, don't you think?!

Here are some cooooool Starbucks in Kyoto.

Karasuma Rokkaku Starbucks

Kyoto Rokkakudori-Higashinotoin- 254Donomaecho
Nishiiru Nakagyo-ku Kyoto

You can enjoy seeing detail of the hexagonal temple with your coffee.





Sanjo Ohashi Starbucks

Kyoto Nakagyo-ku Sanjo-Kawaramachi-Higashiiru
113 Nakajimacho

You can enjoy the murmur of the Kamo river stream and early summer breeze!



To be honest, their coffee is pretty expensive for me and I want to support small local coffee shops :P 



It was Happy B-day to meeeee!!!!!

It was my birthday on April 30th.
I had a party with my friends on 29th at a lovely restaurant and we had a party here at Fukuoka Hana Hostel and went to karaoke with our wonderful guests and my friends!!  That was happy fun days and I really appreciate that they spent time with meeeeeeee!!!!!!  Luv ya all!!!!!!

Trip to Fukushima!!

Hello, this is Nao from Q-beh!

I went to Fukushima last month.
Actually, it was my first time to visit there.

In Kitakata city:)

The weather was so nice! Even though I haven't got sunburn in Okinawa last month, I got so much in Tohoku instead :D
It was perfect timing for cherry blossom.
I've never seen such a gorgeous street of weeping cherry trees.

Katsudon in Aizu! It was soooo delicious.
I had many delicious food during this trip.

I was really excited to visit Aizu.
Because I love Bakumatsu era (late Tokugawa shogunate era), I wanted to visit since I was a high school student. 
Once, Aizu had to be one of big battle places.
They had many victims by the battle even among women or children to dedicate to their leader(Matsudaira Katamori) under Aizu Domain's rules...
Tsuruga castle was badly broken then.
Now it's very beautiful and peaceful place, so you can't imagine how hard the place was.
They had sad memory in the history before and again had to suffer from the severe disaster 4years ago...

However, I found out people in Fukushima are really strong and kindhearted.
Now I think they are more friendly and like chatting than people in Kansai! :D

See you again Fukushima in near future*°

Do you like to play a video game??

Hello :)
This is Haru from Osaka Hana Hana Hoste.

Do you like to play a video game??
If you like, I would like to recommend very interesting Bar to you.
Space Station

address: 2-13-3 Iwamura Bldg 2F Osaka 
OPEN: 8:00PM to 5:00AM
Price: Range(500yen~)

Osaka Hana Hostel has already recommended this bar to our guests.
But unfortunately, I didn't have experience to go there...
Because I'm a new staff.
So I went to this bar with staffs of Osaka Hana Hostel.

Normally, I don't play a video game but... I was really excited this night!!

This bar is very funny.
Bar is not so big but Space station has a lot of video games.
Nintendo, PlayStation, Wii, SUPER can play all video games if you buy a drink!!
We don't need a table charge!!

We had played MARIO KART by Wii U and we lost all concept of time :)

Do you want to go there??
Maybe you will lose track of time playing a video game like me!!

After all the cherry blossoms have fallen...

Japan is a country of Sakura, or cherry blossoms. Everyone looks forward to seeing Sakura in full bloom every year and a lot of people, both Japanese and foreign visitors come to Kyoto to view beautiful blossoms from the late March to early April.

Along with falling cherry blossoms, the crowd is gone and the city regains it's equanimity. Sakura is definitely one of my favorite flowers and I feel a little bit sad every time I see falling petals. Although having said that, I actually love this time of the year between Sakura season and humid summer time. Because 1) I love fresh green color, 2) it's usually nice weather and  3) I get to see various beautiful flowers.

The other day I went to see Fuji flowers (Wisteria) and Shibazakura (Moss phlox) at a local water and sewage plant.They open their garden to public for just a few days a year.

It was absolutely amazing to see the contrast of elegant purple of Fuji flowers, vivid pink of Shibazakura and green maple leaves. They were just stunning.

Fuji vines climb by twining their stems either clockwise or counterclockwise round any available support. They can climb as high as 20 m (65.6 ft) above the ground and spread out 10 m (32.8 ft) laterally.

Sakura is beautiful, but I personally find the elegance and gorgeousness that Fuji flowers have comparable.  

Farewell, winter in Hida Takayama

If I were in Hong Kong, I would have finished writing this ages ago. But here in Takayama, the winter is long, but thankfully, lovely. Even now, in early May, you feel chilly in the early morning and at night, and I have yet to put away my gasoline heater for fear that cold spells might catch me unguarded sometimes. And quite outrageously, we got snowfall even in early April this year when I was about to put away all my winter clothes, ready to embrace the long-awaited spring season. With the cherry blossoms in the city center having almost shed all its petals, blessing us with sakura shower, and the sun coming out more and more often to greet us, I can safely assume that spring is here (or maybe even summer, as the temperature sometimes goes up to around 27-28 sometimes!)..

After the cherry blossoms are gone, the next thing to look forward to is see the new leaves coming out, decorating the dull brown landscape with bright green color. Before the summer is upon us, I would like to take this time to reflect on my first winter in Takayama. Despite its almost unanimous unpopularity among the locals, I must say I love Takayama’s winter. Please allow me to defend my viewpoint before you start booing, throwing paper planes or stones at me, or kidnap me to the North Pole.

Winter is bitterly cold here, this I am not going to deny. I am definitely getting the brunt of the coldness here considering how poorly insulated my house is. That aside, I think I like every bit of other things of winter here in Takayama.

The biggest appeal to me is none other than the snowfall, enough to paint the landscape romantically white but not so much to block your entrance or bury your house, or bring the whole city to a standstill. And it is convenient to venture to more snowy regions to satisfy your occasional appetite for heavier snow, or even blizzard, if you are crazy. In terms of temperature, Takayama is also well-placed, in my opinion, as it does not rise too much above zero during winter so that the white landscape is more long-lasting, but not too low to totally discourage you to go outdoors at all. It also helps that Takayama is surrounded by mountains so that it seldom gets very windy. Coastal regions like Kanazawa does get a lot of snowfall during winter, but because of the relatively high temperatures there, the snow will also be gone pretty quickly after snowfall, and they get quite a lot of rain even during the winter season when the temperature is not low enough. And the snow they get is more often than not wet, and is easily reduced to disgusting sorbet-like state after being stepped on. While in Takayama we get relatively more powder snow, which is very lovely and comfortable to step on if you must forgive my kinkiness. This is one of the weird things I like to do during winter. Whenever there is fresh snow, I always look forward to stepping on the snow carpet, if the snow manages to stay on the ground, and enjoy the sound of my boots stepping on the snow, as well as the touch of your feet being supported by the snow after sinking a bit inside the snow.

I also like walking in the snow, with or without an umbrella. Unlike rain, snowfall falls silently, and during the night, even stealthily. When you are inside your room, without looking out the window, you never know whether it is snowing or not, unlike raindrops, snow does not beat on your rooftop and windows. So there is always an element of mystery and anticipation, and I will only know what is in store for me outside when I open my door or look out the window.