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!!

Moving houses

I am moving to a new apartment today (Hurray!), and to tell you the truth, the house I am moving out of is still a mess. The messiness of my own room far exceeds my expectation, and I am resolved to tidy my new apartment more often to avoid repeating the same mistake.

The main reason I decided to move to a new place is that my room was far too cold in winter, with the temperature dropping to sub-zero on the worst days, and even my heater failed to warm up the room sufficiently. Hopefully the new apartment will be totally different.

Even though winter is over, I am still very excited about moving to my new place as it is going to be the first time I am living all on my own. Which means I can decorate the space however I want. And I definitely plan to do a lot of cooking as well. There will be a lot of expenses, but I am sure it will be money well spent. Luckily, I have got some second-handed goods from my colleagues, such as washing machine, fridge and microwave, so the list of what I still need to buy is not (too) long:

(1) Dining table
- probably the most expensive item I need to get. Thinking of getting those extendable tables to save space when it is only me around. I plan to invite friends over for parties or card tables from time to time, so it will be nice to have a larger table ready on those occasions.

(2) cooking utensils
- This is huge. I need pots, pans, a pressure cooker, a rice cooker, an oven, and I even want a bread machine! So greedy I am.

(3) seasonings
- this can be huge too...

(4) shoe box
- I have six to seven pairs of shoes, I guess, so I do need it...

Happy shopping!


500YEN Highway BUS Hiroshima - Matsue

Hi. This is Ena from Hiroshima Hana Hostel.
Where have you been in Japan?
Many foreign people visit those cities since you can go there by Shinkansen easily with the Japan Rail Pass.
However,some guests ask me this question.(Especially people visit Japan as their second visit.) " Where is the place not well-known to people?"
If you have never been to Matsue in Shimane prefecture yet, I recommend to  go there after Hiroshima.(or Before Hiroshima)
Now the Highway Bus from Hiroshima to Matsue is ONLY 500YEN for foreign travelers!
(Also from Matsue to Hiroshima) Usually it costs 3900yen but you can take it with 500yen if you show your passport when you buy a ticket.
What is Matsue famous for? There are lots of interesting spots.The Matsue castle is one of them.It was designated as National Treasure in July,2015.You can also get a traditional boat which goes along the castle moat and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
 Also,they have amazing Onsens ,Tamatukuri Onsen and Matsue Shinjiko Onsen.
 If you take JR Sanin line to Yasugi station about 30min from Matsue, they have a FREE suttle bus to Adachi Museum of Art . The museum was chosen as on of the Japan's 31 most beautiful place by CNN America. If you are interested in Japanese gardens,you will like it.

In Izumo city, there is one of the famous shrine,Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine.
It takes 1hour by bus from Matsue station.If you are planning to visit Shimane prefecture, I highly recommend that you visit here. 

If you show your Passport, 
you can get up to 50% off Discount at many tourism facilities! 

 Why don't you go to Shimane to make your trip unique?
< 500yen Highway Bus Ticket  >

・Applicable for short-term foreign tourists ONLY.
・No reservation by phone.
・Purchases must be at the ticket window 
(Hiroshima station North building 2F or Hiroshima Bus center)
・Show your passport (NO Residence card)
・You can NOT get the discount if you buy a ticket inside of the bus.
・You can NOT book in advance. You can but it only on the day and the day before.
・All highway bus(3900yen) seats are reserved in advance.
 During busy periods,please note that seats may be fully booked.
・The ticket is available ONLY from Apr 1st,2016 to Mar 31st,2017. 


Island time


I was born in the mountains, and always the ocean gets me really excited no matter how far/cold/dirty it is. After spending busy spring season, I decided to have a small trip to somewhere away from tourists, concrete, and busy urban life. there any place that makes it possible? Then I just remembered my friend who lives on a tiny island that even local Okinawan don't know. Tonaki, it is. 

I thought it would be easier to show you some photos than to tell you how amazing it is with million words. Here are some of the beautiful things that took my breathe away!

ZERO TOURIST. The island is located two hours away from Naha by ferry, the closest big town is Kume-jima which is still one hour away, and they 390 inhabitants with one big school, one clinic, probably 2 major restaurants/guesthouses, 2 small shops for grocery and, that's about it. 
It takes only 9 mins to walk through whole island from north to south. I walked around, literally whole island, except some mountain areas because I was scared of poisonous snakes. And after 2 hours of crazy stormy weather after I arrived, finally sun came out and I just ran to the beach.

MY PRIVATE BEACH. I thought I was in heaven. 
The water was just warm enough to let me try b'day suit swimming as no one was there. Doing nothing on the beach, well not nothing - having some beer, sunbathing, writing my diary, postcards to my family/friends, finding cool looking seashells - that's what I needed. Just chill out and release myself in to this beautiful blue!  
(Of course my mood on the beach:

And I met up with my friend after he got off work, that was the perfect timing for sunset dinner at a park. We talked a lot, about our life in two different extremely unique places, about traveling, about everything and nothing! That's another thing I kinda needed to let me be myself, and am so glad he gave me a chance to visit this beautiful place.

So romantic. Here and there.

I had been worried about what they don't have on the island before I got there, but I was very impressed by what they have - great nature, slow life, warmhearted people and their smile!

I should definitely visit there again to spend some more time with locals, to see/try more beautiful things that the island would offer me. Highly recommended!

Sarubobo à Monkey baby

Have you seen this before?

A red and faceless doll in Hida region is called Sarubobo.  Saru means monkey and getting rid of bad things in Japanese.  Bobo means baby.  Therefore, it is a monkey baby.  Why Sarubobo is faceless?  Local people believe that sarubobo reflects the owners’ emotions, i.e. when you feel happy, Sarubobo is happy and vice versa.  How do you feel when you see Sarubobo now?  Sometimes I heard guest said they do not like Sarubobo because of faceless…..

In the old times, Hida people handmade the doll (sarubobo) and passed to the children at home so that the children can stay at home quietly without hanging out especially in the snowy winter.  The original colour is red and nowadays there are many colours e.g. pink for love luck, green for health luck and so on.

I always love buying the sarubobo for my friends as I strongly believe sarubobo will bring them happy family luck, marriage and smooth delivery of baby.  Would you like to make your own sarubobo? In fact, there are also shops in Takayama where you can create your own sarubobo.

Hida-chi Sarubobo Shop
19 Aioicho,Takayama-Shi,Gifu

Hida no Sato

Don’t forget to bring some sarubobo back to your home country when you visit Hida region next time!!

Cherry Blossom 2016

Hi! There are one week left in April... 
April is my favorite month because a lot of flowers begin to bloom 
and I especially love cherry blossoms.

I have visited some places to see cherry blossoms as usual.

Along the Kamo River

The embankment in Yawata City

Osaka Castle

It is always difficult to see something at its best timing but hope you could see some beautiful blossoms this year...

Top 3 Japanese Snacks

Good morning/evening!
Kotaro here 

If you have been to japan, you might have eaten japanese snacks once or twice or more.

However, in these days, there are too many variations of japanese snacks out there and it is almost impossible to eat everything during your trip!

So I will pick top 3 Japanese snacks that you should have during your trip in japan.

No.3   Kyabetsu-Taro

Kyabetsu-Taro (cabbage taro) is puff snacks seasoned by japanese Worcester sauce.
This is known as one of the oldest and most famous snacks in japan.
It tastes like Okonomiyaki (Japanese pan cake ).
There is no cabbage in its ingredients by the way so if you are allergic to cabbages, don't worry, you can eat.

No.2  Brakku-Sandaa

This is a crunchy chocolate snack called brakku-sandaa (Black Thunder)
There are some puffs covered by chocolate.
30yen each so it is good to grab 3~4 and eat them while walking.

I always eat them during work when I need to be sugarlicious.

No.1  Yukimi Daifuku

Yukimi Daifuku consists of an ice cream ball covered up by thin layer of starch based rice cake.
There are several flavours are sold recently (Chocolate, Strawberry, Green tea ...etc)

Do not eat straight away after picking it up from the fridge, wait about 5 mins because it taste's better when it starts melting a bit.

These are my personal top 3 japanese snacks.
Thank you for reading, enjoy your junkie life in japan.

Spring Festivals!! 2016

Two famous festivals have just finished last week.

 It was a perfect day because Sakura flowers has just full bloomed!!

Takayama Spring Festival is held on April 14th and 15th every year.

One of the main event is "Night parade"

Lanterns were moving was so beautiful.

Festival men were trying to turn corner while carrying floats.

You can see same types of festival in October.

But I can say spring festival is more elegant than Autumn one.

Another festival is held on April 19th and 20th in Hida Furukawa. (It is our next town!)

It is very very funny, because most of festival men are all so wasted!!

Main festival men play drums, and the other members carry them.

Sometimes they play acrobatic performance on the wood poles.

They are keep walking until midnight!!

I was so happy I could see those two festivals with my lovely friends.


Hi, there ! Have you heard of Germanium hot bath (ゲルマ温浴)?                                          

Germanium is a chemical element, Mineral and it is very efficient to  circulate your blood so that you will be more fresh after treatment,

You just put your arms and half legs in the hot bath which is got some germanium in it and remain for 20 mins. After 20 mins, a whole of your body and  a face are dripping with sweat.

    It works for sensitivity to cold, swollen legs,constipation and sore shoulder or headache.         It does give you freshness and moreover, it is said 20 mins germanium relate to 2 hours aerobic exercise !

If you want to be refreshed, you can try germanium hot bath :-)

Umekoji Park in Kyoto

Hi. This is Yui from Kyoto Hana.

Yesterday was such a lovely day in Kyoto so I went to Umekoji Park(梅小路公園)on my own.

There are nice grass, the trees and the flowers. I was there for 1 hour and reading and drawing on the beautiful grass. Sometimes the puppy came to me and ran away. The time went very slowly there and I relaxed so much. I recommend you to visit there if you would like to relax.

Umekoji Park 梅小路公園
〒600-8835 京都府京都市下京区観喜寺町56−3

Germany in spring

This is Tomomi from Hanahostel in Hiroshima.

From April 1st to 8th, I've visited Germany. It was my second time there. This time I've stayed in Munich for two nights. 

In Munich, I went to the English Garden, the Residenz and a church, looked around Marienplatz & Neues Rathaus and visited Viktualienmarkt. It was really, really nice weather and warm, which I hadn't expected, so I especially liked to walk around in the English Garden. The English Garden is the BIG park in Munich. In the park, everyone was enjoying the sunny weather and lying on the grass and a lot of dogs were running around and playing. Some people were even surfing in the river!  

The Residenz was really beautiful. We could see so MANY rooms and it was like a maze...and since nobody was in the big hall (Antiquarium) when we were there, I could take beautiful pictures! Lucky me :D 
Actually, I do not like beer and don't drink it in Japan. But since I was in Munich which is famous for beer, I ordered a glass of beer and tried it with the hope that I would like beer in Germany… but nothing changed :D. I even couldn't finish it. I wonder if I ever will enjoy the taste of beer.

I really had a good time and I appreciate all the people I've met in Germany! And to the staff at Hana I am thankful for giving me the time to visit Germany.

Many Thanks to my dearest friend CHIKA

Konnichiwa from Hiroshima Hana Hostel, it's Kana here.
It has been weird weather in Hiroshima so we had such a short period to enjoy SAKURA this year again like last year.
Before full bloom we had staff HANAMI near here. Even though it was not in full bloom, SAKURA was really beautiful. Always enjoy delicious BENTO (Lunch box) under cherry blossom.

 One of our best receptionist from J-hoppers Hiroshima quit last week. To be accurate, her last day was end of January but she helped us until renovation for J-hoppers finished which was last week.

 I got on-the-job training from her. I always wanted to be like her, I always admire her a lot.
We have shared many things together through last 5years.
Since I spent my teenager in NZ, I didn't have much friend in my hometown. I would say she is my first best friend since I came back to Hiroshima after graduated school in NZ.
No matter what  I did wrong (most likely stupid stuff ), she always understood me a lot and still hang around together. I really appreciated that I am her friend. And even after she left J-hoppers, I strongly believe that we will be still good friend in the future.
It is NOT joking but people who works or worked before, have strong trust and relation ship. 
We still all hang around regularly and share many things. Even old staff who lives in overseas, we still keep in touch and we always catch up when they come back to Japan.

I don't know  how to explain how much i appreciate to J-hoppers to gave me such a awesome opportunity to know these beautiful people.

Me and Chika will go to Taiwan trip this month!! YEAH!!
Give us some tips that where to go and what to do!!