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!!

Snowy Kenroku-en 兼六園 in Kanazawa

Last week, I visited Kenroku-en and this is the first time for me to see the garden with snow.  I feel extremely lucky to see the yukitsuri as it is always raining when I visit Kanazawa every time.  In Japan, there is a method of protecting the branches of the pine trees in the garden with ropes attached in a conical array to the trees in order to prevent the branches from breaking.  When it is covered with snow, the scenery is magnificent. 

Due to the new Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kanazawa, Kanazawa is getting more and more popular in Japan.  It is about 2.5 hours by bus or train from Takayama and famous of seafood, old houses, ninja temple, 21 century art museum and the Japanese Garden Kenroku-en. 

Kenroku-en is one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan.  The name of garden explains it well in terms of six factors: spaciousness, tranquility, artifice, antiquity, water cources, and magnificent view from the garden.

If you have a chance to visit Kanazawa in winter, my recommendation is Kenroku-en.  There is a 500 yen one day bus pass sold in the bus center in front of the JR station.  With it, you can travel around easily within the town very easily.   

Nana-chan !!

Hi! This is Ena from Hiroshima Hana Hostel.
I can not believe February is almost over...
Time goes so fast !!


Have you heard about the most famous GIRL in Nagoya?

Her name is "NANA-Chan".
She is standing in front of the escalator to Meitetsu Bus Center near Nagoya station.
LOOK! How tall she is! Her hight is 6m10cm!

Her costume is changed every month.

Actually I did NOT know about her before ....
Last week,I visited Nagoya for the first time to see my friend.
She took me some sightseen spots in Nagoya.
We had the local food of Nagoya,Misokatsu (Miso flavored pork cutlet),
Nagoya-style-breakfast and went to Nagoya castle....(Was amazing!!!)

However,"Nana-chan" was the most impressive for me.
My friend told me that she wore even "Naruto costume" "Ironman costume" before.

Also,her jaws got out of joint once since she was surprised too much.
When you visit Nagoya, why don't you check her costume as well :)


Japanese antique flea market in Osaka!!

Do you know there is a flea market named Shitennoji flea market??
Not only for foreigner, for Japanese also will definitely find something interesting there!!!

It is held on the 21st and 22nd in every month at Shitennoji temple which has 1400year history.

Within the market, you can find so many variety of wares to satisfy both the bargain hunter and souvenir seeker alike.
There are Japanese antique kimonos guitars, tableware to footwear.

Even if you do not buy anything, you still can enjoy walking around in this temple and feel old
Japanese life style :)


Japanese Cosplay Photo

If you want to try Kimomono in Osaka, you should go to Japanese Cosplay Photo!
It's located in Shinsaibashi 10 minutes walk from from Shinsaibashi station!

You can choose Kimono, they have many color of Kinomo, for men and women.
The staff help you to wear and take 10 photos!
There are some goods for photo shooting like Umbrella, flowers, fans and wigs too!

You can get 10 photos on a disc and 1 print (A4 size)
It was super fan!!!!!!!!!

If you want to know their information please check this out!

Thank you, Brandon and Sayaka!!!

See you again! Aaron San

This is Kimy from J-Stay.

According to Japanese traditional calendar Today is "YUSUI"(YU means Rain SUI means Water . From today Snow will be changing Rain because that it is getting warm.
Spring is coming.

The highest season of J-Stay will arrive soon from April. So we will receive request from all over the world.

But before new meeting always we need to say good bye. I had to do that ;(

Kagura Oka House opened last October.  From Last autumn new renovated house has good atmospher

One guy from Taiwan whose name is Aaron San arrived last November there. He is freelance interior designer in Shanghai. After high season of his work he arrived Kyoto to develop his professional skill and have a rest in Kyoto. He has stayed 3 months here.

Whenever I visited this house we served sweets, tea and invited dinner, he was  the life and soul of Kagura Oka House.
He tried to make good house always. Actually I have joined two home party.
Last Saturday we organized farewell party for him. WE did Potluck party. I prepared Thailand style fried noodle Pattai. One flatmate cooked egg plants, Enoki mashuroom, Japanese home made curry and Japanese Chinese spicy tofu and so on.

We ware more than 10 people. With  nice music equipped high technology new tenants joined this party. His friend joined as well.  I'm sure that This house will have good and nice living climate.

He was very satisfied with flat cap given by his flatmates as a present. 

Thank you very much for your Stay, Aaron San. Hope see you next time!


Hi, this is Tomomi from Hiroshima Hana!
It's gotten cold again and the Flu is going around, especially among children.
So, please keep warm and your hands clean.
By the way, Who is your favorite singer?
Actually, I'm not big fan of anybody, but I always like to listen music and when I'm taking the train or bus. I always listen to music on my phone. Sometimes K-pop, Billboard Charts.... rarely J-pop.
Do you know Sam Tsui?

I've been listening him recently.  I really like his voice and how he arranges the songs. Tsui (born 1989) is an American singer/songwriter & video producer. He became famous by Youtube. As of February 13, 2015, Tsui had reached 2.4 million subscribers, and also I subscribed to him.
He is known for covering famous songs like by Bruno Mars,  Taylor Swift, MAROON 5 and so on, but also has his original songs and even two albums.

If you are interested in him, please check his Youtube channel!:)

Nice to meet you!

Hi!How is it going?
Nice to meet you!I am Kazuko who work at Osaka Hana Hostel as a receptionist.

Please call me Kazzy:)

Let me introduce my self a bit!
I had been stayed in Brisbane of Australia for 10month for Working Holiday!
(I love Australia! There is awesome:)
Also I was working at a Organic Vegetable Farm as woofer!
So I could lead a life that surrounded by nature there.

I am from Nara, and I like to fish, driving,shopping and reading the book so on...
Nowadays especially I am into watching a movie and Sake :)

I have watched a lot of movies which are awesome  so I can not chose the best one.
But among them, my current favorite movie is 'despicable me'

Have you ever heard minions?
Minions are creatures which appear in the movie.
They are so funny,adorable,stupid but dedicated
I am crazy about them!!

Minions always try to hard for their boss.

Their attitude of doing absolute best is really impressive.Even it is bad way.haha

I also have to do them:)

And one more thing...

I am crash on Japanese SAKE!

It tastes awesome!!

We have Japanese Sake Bar down stairs,so please come to the Bar!

I work once a week there, so let's enjoy talking and SAKE together!!

I am waiting for your coming:)

We are the J-hoppers!!!

Konnichiwa from Hiroshima Hana Hostel, It's Kana here.
Time flies....January is already over and already in February without noticing....Oh no....
How was your first month of year 2016?I hope everybody had good start.

I had such a great lunch with former J-hoppers staff in January. We were used to work together in different time, but we have been in touch since some people quit here.
Some of them got married and have kids, some of them moved to oversea, some of them still working at J-hoppers.

 How we are now is different from how we used to be but, I do still like all of them and respect what they are doing.
We were invited one of staff "Yuko and Tom" place and we made our own hamburger which was great fun.
They prepared all the ingredient and even handmade patty!!!!! Was SOOO delicious...

 We had good talk, awesome hamburger and drink. Time gone really fast and I was really happy to see them but on the other hand got little upset by remembering our memories which we used to work together and share a lot of staff. I was hoping that we can have that time again.

I really appreciate that I got opportunity to know them and still being good friends.

Thanks everyone and J-hoppers!

In search of snow

The year 2015 appears to be the hottest in record, and this unusually warm winter has dealt an especially huge blow to Takayama. For areas which are not usually snowy in winter, a warm winter might come across as quite welcoming. But Takayama is different. Many tourists come expected to see snow, and the landscape painted in white.
Takayama without snow is somewhat like a piece of toast without butter or jam. I share tourists’ disappointment, and that is why a few days earlier I decided to venture deeper into the mountains to look for snow, and there, in Okuhida area, there is an abundance of snow on the ground, despite still a far cry from a regular year.

I stayed one night there, and took the opportunity to go to a special event held in Nakao-onsen. There at the event venue, I found igloos in a variety of sizes housing the likes of mini-bars and mini food stalls. I had a cup of plum wine inside the surprisingly warm igloo, and also had a half-boiled egg in hot spring water as well.

On the next day, I went to see the Hirayu waterfall, trying not to get my hopes up too high given the unusually warm weather this year. But thankfully, the waterfall was in part frozen in emerald blue, which made the slippery walk worthwhile (I slipped twice on my way…if you plan to go there, please be careful).

What awaited me after the short walk was of course hot spring, and thankfully snow. It felt so great soaking your body in hot spring while snowflakes landed on your head and disappeared into the hot spring water. Hope you will get some more snow this year before spring is upon us! 

Sweets to go...

Hi there, it's been really mild. Can't believe it's still in the middle of winter.
Weather these days are just like a beginning of spring !
Whether it gets freezing cold , coldness doesn't bother my passion for an ice cream ..!!
I'm crazy about ice creams and I had a eating record 5 scoops of ice creams at once:-)
I've worked at gelato shop and I learnt the process of making them.
What's the difference between gelato and ice cream ?
The biggest difference is the proportion of air content.
The percentage of air content of gelato is much larger than ice cream therefore, gelato is fluffy . 
Moreover, what makes gelato fluffy is low-fat and high-protein.
Protein is a stabilizer so it has a responsibility to make a body of gelato.
Just good proportion of milk fat , sugars and stabilizers are a important key to make a good gelato. 

There are roughly two types of gelato, one is milk based and the other one is sorbet.
Milks and creams are adjusted with a variety of flavors.
Vanilla, Chocolate, Tiramisu Cookies and creams, Pistachio are popular milk based ice cream.
As I mentioned before, the percentage of each ingredients should be precise so that makes gelato fluffy and nice smooth texture.

On the other hand, sobet is a adjustment of water and fruits.
It doesn't contain milk or cream so if you are dairy free, this is for you !
This time, stabilizers have a huge responsibility to decide the texture.

This is like a work of art !!
Gelato is no or less fat therefore, the aroma stands out and rich in taste !
Personally, I prefer milk based ice cream and I love any nutty flavors :-)
Umm…Mouth watering…

Snow shoeing

I went to snow shoeing with my friend.

Though I've been living in Takayama over 20years, it was my first time experience.

As you know this year is quit warmer than usual, there is not much snow even it's mountain area.

We expected to see the Hyobaku(Frozen waterfall) but unfortunately we couldn't.

Whether focus says it's going to be warm and spring will be coming soon!

Oh wait wait wait,  It's a good news but  I haven't  gone snowboard yet!

I have to go ASAP otherwise snow will melt!

Less snow is very good news for local people but for tourist, it's very disappointing news.

Our guest who from south east Asia such as Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia, everyday say "where is snow!? We came here to see snow,,,,,I ant to see falling snow,,,,,

We hope to see heavy snow again this year again.

Let's cook & enjoy sukiyaki at home!

Hiya, this is Yoshi from Kyoto Hana Hostel!

Last month, I cooked sukiyaki to celebrate New Year's Day!
Sukiyaki is one of the most famous Japanese food like sushi, but how to cook it differs from place to place.

Here is our original simple recipe!
As these pieces of sir-loin include lots of fat, we 
do not use oil. 
First of all, we roast the meat, adding soy source, sweet sake called ”mirin,” and yellow soft sugar, then eating before making sukiyaki. 
This is one of the most exiting ones to taste sirloin!

After that, please add sliced pieces of white leeks and cut ”shungiku (edible chrysanthemum)” and shimeji mashrooms.
Then, please pour a cup of ”dashi (Japanese soup stock)” if you feel the taste is strong.
Raw eggs are essential to enjoy sukiyaki!

What else can we enjoy sukiyaki?
We add udon into the sukiyaki pan like a Japanese hotpot after enjoying sukiyaki.
At this stage, you may be almost full!

Anyway, sukiyaki is a quite simple Japanese food. Why don't you have sukiyaki??