Dec 27, 2015

Hatsumode (the first shrine visit)

In Japan, people visit shrine (some people visit temple) on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd day of the year to wish for the new year.

Here are some recommendable shrines (temples) for Hatsumode;

*the deity of success in business
  Fushimi Inari Shrine

*the deity of academic achievement
  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

*the deity of success in love
  Jishu-jinja Shrine (in Kiyomizu Temple), Kifune-jinja Shrine, Shimogamo-jinja Shrine

*the deity of perfect health
  Toji Temple

Dec 25, 2015

J-Hoppers Kyoto New Year's Eve!

We will have an New Year's Eve Event !!!
On December 31st night we will cook Toshikoshi-Soba(*1).
Then we go to the Tofukuji Temple around 21:30 to ring the Joya-no-Kane.(*2).
If you still have an energy, Let's go to Fushimi-Inari for Hatsumoude.(first visit of the year to a shrine/temple)
There are many many food stands and people there :-P

New Year is the most important day for Japanese and hope you will feel it.
We still have some dorm beds available for December 31st!



Nov 13, 2015

Vegetarian cafe


Here is a good news for vegetarians.
A vegetarian cafe opened last month on Shichijo Street!!
Because it's hard to find a vegetarian restaurant around Kyoto Station, it's really good news!
You can enjoy the view of Kamo River through the window:)
It takes 10 minutes by walk from Hana hostel.

Veg Out
CLOSED: Monday

There is a thai restaurant on the 2nd floor.
It's also reccomended!!

Oct 8, 2015

Genji no Yu Onsen.
Unfortunately, there are not so many hot springs in Kyoto: one on the very north at Kurama, one in Arashiyama. But did you know that there is one more onsen in Uji area?
It is called Genji no Yu. Very nice and quite spacious onsen with several saunas, rotenburo, tsubo yu and many other relaxing baths. You can get there by Kintetsu line (Okubo Station) or JR Nara Line (Shinden Station).Onsen is open from 10am to 1am (final  entrance before midnight). Entrance fee is just 1000 Yen. If you bring Genji no Yu pamphlet with J-Hoppers stamp, you will get towel set without chargeJ

By the way, there is Kura Zushi restaurant just next to the onsen. Any sushi plate is just 100 Yen!



Oct 6, 2015

Handmade Flea Market

Hi there.

Are you looking for something special? Like something unique?
These markets are held on this weekend.

-Machiya Handmade Department Store-

Date: Oct. 10-12th  11am-5pm  (Every 2nd Sat., Sun., and Man.)
Place: Art Gallery & Rental Space "be-kyoto"
Address: 429-1 Anrakukoji-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City
Access: 5 min. walk from subway Imadegawa station
           4 min. walk from Kamigyoku Sogo Choshamae bus stop

-Nokisaki Market-

Date: Oct. 12th  10am-4pm
Place: Palette Kyoto Kawaramachi (Kawaramachi st. between Oike st. and Sanjo st.)
Access: subway Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae station
           Kawaramachi Sanjo bus stop

You may find something you like :)

Oct 3, 2015

Otsu Matsuri (Festival)

Otsu Matsuri

October 10th From evening to 21:00
October 11th From 9:00-17:30

You can see the festival around JR Otsu Station which is only 10min from Kyoto Station.

This dazzling autumn celebration of Tenson Shrine is one of the Three Great Festivals of Shiga.  The Otsu Festival has a history of nearly 400 years. It is said to have begun in the early Edo period (1603-1868) in the tanuki (raccoon dog) mask dance of a salt peddler named Jihee. The tanuki mask tradition has been preserved as an Otsu Municipal Cultural Property, and as the festival's roots lie in these masks, each year the Saigyo-Sakura-Tanuki float from Kajiya-cho leads the festival procession.
The Otsu Festival has many attractions—most notably the thirteen extravagant floats adorned with tapestries and other ornaments which parade throughout town on the day of the festival and the lively festival music that can be heard reverberating endlessly throughout Otsu's neighborhoods on the eve of the procession. 

Sep 16, 2015

Night Walking in Kyoto

If you feel like walking around Kyoto at night time,we recommend to   start walking from Kyoto station,

and going along Kamo river towards Chion shrine.

It will be 40mins walk,and you will get to Chion shrine.

It will be lights up at night time,It looks so beautiful.

If you were still energetic,Heian shrine is 10mins walk from the place.

on the way to those places ,you must be feeling like

you did timetravel for 16th century.

You can't find that kinds of places anywhere else in Japan !!

Aug 22, 2015

NINJA Restaurant!

Do you like NINJA?

In the center of Kyoto, there is the Ninja Restaurant!
You can enjoy a live Ninja show with Ninja themed food.

The show combines sword battle, dance, acrobatics... and it is fantastic!

For more details, please check their website below.
Enjoy the Ninja world!

-Dining Theater NINJA (NINJA KYOTO)-

Aug 16, 2015

chill with 100yen

You must be very thirsty while you are in Kyoto.
I know, The summer in Kyoto is fatal !!!
I love living in Kyoto but I dislike to be here in summer.

Well, Here is a tip to feel much better only with 100yen !!!
You can find ICED COFFEE either in 7-Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson. It means almost averywhere in Japan! 

Starbucks is too expensive! 
Just grab some convenience store's iced coffee and keep going !!!

Aug 13, 2015

Let's go see Daimonji Fires together!

16 August 
We are going to see Daimonji Ritual Fires together!!!

The Daimonji Gozan Okuri-bi is one of the four major traditional seasonal events in Kyoto. The fires are set on five mountains in the city and each represents Buddhist symbol, which is used as a way of guiding the spirits of the dead back to the Buddhist Pure Land; Daimonji fire setting starts at 8pm.

We meet at J-Hoppers Lobby and leave at 7pm! 


Fee: 100Yen (Daimonji postcard included)

Jul 1, 2015

Gion Matsuri Festival 2015


If you are visiting Kyoto in summer, You don't miss the Gion Matsuri Festival!
It's one of the largest and most historical festivals in Japan.
Why don't you wear a Yukata (= kimono for summer. It's not expensive, easy to wear and washable!!) and hang out in the Festival!?

Gion Matsuri Festival Event Calendar

JULY 10-14
Hoko and Yama Tate (float construction):
On these five days, the festival's 32 floats are assembled. No nails are used.

Omukae Chochin (welcoming lanterns):
At around 16:30, men wearing formal kimono and carrying long bamboo poles from which lanterns are suspended, depart from Yasaka Shrine, heading west along Shijo to Kawaramachi.

Mikoshi Arai (mikoshi purification):
During the festival, the deities of Yasaka Shrine reside in a temporary shrine called the Otabisho. Before moving the deities on the mikoshi portable shrines, the mikoshi are purified with water from Kamogawa River. The mikoshi depart from Yasaka Shrine at 19:00 and arrive at the bridge at 20:00, then come back to the shrine at 21:00.

Hoko Hikihajime & Yama Kakizome (trial pulling):
On these days, the people of each respective float neighbourhood try pulling the newly constructed floats.

Yoiyama (eve of the grand parade):
On the three nights before the grand parade, the festive atmosphere reaches its peak. The streets are crowded with people, many in traditional dress, Gion bayashi music fills the air, and many stalls are set up along the main streets.

Traditional Entertainment Performance:
On this day, at Yasaka Shrine, from 15:00 to 18:00, traditional Japanese entertainment (kabuki, biwa lute, harp, kyogen, dance, etc.) will be performed.

Iwami Kagura (ancient court dance):
From 19:00 at Yasaka Shrine, ancient court dance will be performed to the music of flute and bells.

Yamaboko Junko (grand parade):
At 9:00, the main Naginata-boko starts moving. When it reaches Fuyacho, the chigo sacred child on the float cuts the sacred rope and the parade begins.

Hanagasa Junko (flower umbrella procession):
At 10:00, about ten large umbrella floats attended by nearly 1,000 people depart from Yasaka Shrine. Various dances will be performed.

Kyogen Performance:
At 13:00, the Shigeyama Family will perform special kyogen (comical theatre) plays at Yasaka Shrine.

Mikoshi Arai (mikoshi purification):
As on the 10th, the mikoshi are again purified on Shijo Bridge at 20:00 before the deities are carried back to Yasaka Shrine from their temporary home, the Otabisho.

Jun 26, 2015

Coffee break

For those who love coffee or who want to take a rest while exploring Higashiyama area, 「%Arabica Kyoto」 is recommend.

They are particular about the beans and machines.
And the manager has won "Coffee Fest Latte Art World Championship" last year so you may have a tasty coffee with beautiful latte art.

Their coffee booth is opened temporarily in front of Fujiidaimaru department store facing Shijo Street until June 30th.

%Arabica Kyoto
Place: close to Yasaka Pagoda in Higashiyama area
Open hours: 8:00-18:00

Jun 11, 2015

Yasui Konpiragu

While raining days are continuing, we went to Yasui Kompiragu. 
This shrine in Gion district is a famous place among couples. 
In the middle of the shrine there is an “enkiri/enmusubi stone.” People believe that the stone has power to make good relationships stronger and sever bad ones. On a special paper you write your wish, stick it with glue to the stone and crawl through the tunnel in the stone from front to back. If you want to end a relationship, you crawl through from back to front. 

Actually, I found it very helpful to realize what exactly you want to leave in past and what you want to preserve in life!

May 20, 2015


I went to Himeji about 1 month ago (i wanted to say "the other day" but I decided to be honest).

It was a lot better and nicer city than I expected although it was fortunately raining.
Himeji Castle is good and beautiful.

But what I would like to recommend is Himeji City Museum of Art,
which is about 10 minutes walk from the entrance of the castle.

It's a nice walk with a view of the castle on your left side:)

The building is western style with brown-red bricks has a nice park in front:)
What I love about the museum is it's emptiness!

It was a Marc Chagall's exhibitio, and it it were at somewhere in Kyoto or in another big cities, 
I bed there should be too many people enough to make you feel like you rather come over there to watch people not the paintings.

You could enjoy every piece of Chagall's art taking as much time as you would like to spare:)
Chagall's exhibition is on till the 30th of May so if you every visit Himeji, please visit the museum as well:)

And eat this!!! Akashi Yaki (takoyaki wih broth soup)

On the way to the museum

Apr 25, 2015

Special Opening in Ginkakuji

First temple I saw on my first visit to Kyoto was Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion).
It is still one of my favorite places here.

Next week 1-6 May there is Special Opening in Ginkakuji.
That rare chance to see room and garden called the Dojin-sai, which is a cradle of Japanese tea ceremony. It is a small four-and-a-half mat room where shogun Yoshimasa supposedly drank tea.

Time: 10:00am-3:30pm
Admission: JPY1000

Apr 10, 2015

Hiking Mt. Daimonji

For someone who likes hiking, now it is one of the best seasons to hike up the Mt. Daimonji.
Mt. Daimonji is just behind Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion) so easy to get there.
It takes less than 1 hour to the top of the mountain.

You will feel at peace of sunlight filtering down through the trees.

You will come out in the middle of the “dai” on which fires are burned during the August Gozan-no-Okuribi Fire Festival.
You can see the whole of Kyoto City from the top!

It is good to have a lunch at the top of the mountain. 
You might feel more delicious with a sense of accomplishment and the nice view. 
But be careful! There are some birds always wait for the chance to get your food!

Hiking Mt. Daimonji is popular among many people regardless of age.

Apr 6, 2015

Maiko&Geiko Show in Kyoto

第143回都をどり 「只今都をどり予約受付中です。」

 ***Miyako Odori***

DAY: Everyday between Apr 1 - 30
TIME: 12:30-、14:00-、15:30-、16:50- (Lasts 1hr)
PLACE: Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theter
TICKET: First class seat with tea ceremony by maiko&geiko \4800
            Second class \4200
            Normal class \2500!/

Mar 30, 2015

【2015 Spring】Illuminations in Kyoto City

In Kyoto city, we have many historical places for sightseeing here such as shrines and temples.

We feel quite difficult to visit more than 4 places a day because most of them close around 16.00 - 17.00.

However, we have some illumination events for some special limited seasons.
During the limited periods, you can visit some historical places at night!

Here is some information about the illumination events with sakura in Kyoto in Spring!!

■Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺)
   Date: - April 12th
   Time: 18:00-21:00 (Reception closes at 21:00)
   *Admission fee required
   Access: City Bus #100 / #206 "Gojo-zaka" from Kyoto Station

■Seirenin (青蓮院)
  Date: - April 5th, April 25th-May 6th
   Time: 18:00-22:00 (Reception closes at 21:30)
   *Admission fee required
   Access: City Bus #5 / #100 "Jingu-michi" from Kyoto Station

■Koudaiji (高台寺)
  Date: - May 6th
   Time: Sunset - 22:00 (Reception closes at 21:30)
   * Admission fees required
   Access: City Bus #100 / #206 "Higashiyama-Yasui" from Kyoto Station

■Maruyama Park (円山公園)
  Date: - April 12th
   Time: Sunset - 1:00am
   Access: City Bus #100 / #206 "Gion" from Kyoto Station

■Gion-Shirakawa (祇園白川)
   Date: - April 5th
   Time: 18:00 - 22:00
   Access: Gion-Shijo Station (Keihan Line)

■Heianjingu (平安神宮)
  Date: April 9th - 12th
   Time: 18:15 - 21:00 (Entrance closes at 20:30)
   *Admission for "Shinen (神苑) required
   Access: City Bus #5 / #100 "Okazaki-kouen-mae・Heianjingu-mae" from Kyoto Station

■Kyoto Botanical Garden (京都府立植物園)
   Date: - April 12th
   Time: Sunset - 21:00 (Entrance closes at 20:00)
   *Admission required
   Access: "Kitayama" Station (Subway) / City Bus #4 "Kitayama-eki mae" from Kyoto Station

■Nijo Castle (二条城)
   Date: - April 12th
   Time: 18:30 - 22:00 (Reception closes at 21:30)
   *Admission required
   Access: City Bus #9 / #50 / #101 from Kyoto Station

■Toji Temple (東寺)
   Date: - April 12th
   Time: 18:30 - 22:00 (Reception closes at 21:30)
   *Admission required
   Access: "Toji" Station (Kintetsu) / City Bus #205 "Toji-michi" from Kyoto Station

Mar 17, 2015


The Teradaya (Terada Inn) is located in the port town of Fushimi, south of Kyoto. Situated next to the Satsuma residence in Fushimi, the Teradaya was a known gathering place for ronin loyal to the pro-imperial cause and was the scene of two of the most spectacular events in the Bakumatsu era.

Why don't you visit there ? :)

■Hours: 10:00 - 15:40

■Holidays: January 1st - 3rd and every Mondays

■Admission:400 yen

Mar 11, 2015

Mar. 15 : Buddhist Ritual at Seiryoji Temple

Mar. 15

Nehan-e & Otaimatsu Fire Ritual at Seiryoji Temple

At the Nehan-e ceremony (a memorial ceremony for Buddha's nirvana; from 18:30), you can see an otaimatsu torch lighting ritual, held from around 20:30 which is said to reproduce the scene of when Buddha passed away; Their Saga Shaka Dai Nenbutsu (sutra chanting) is one of Kyoto's three largest religious performances held 3 times on this day (15:30/17:00/18:30). 

This temple is located in Arashiyama district which is famous for the bamboo groove and the beautiful scenery of nature & temples. Why don't you go explore the area in the daytime and witness the ceremony after sunset?

No entry fee (only on the day of Nehan-e ceremony day)

Time: 9:00-16:00
Access: Kyoto Bus #71, 72, get off at Saga Shakado-mae.
Tel: 075-861-0343.  

Mar 3, 2015

Higashiyama Lantern Festival 2015 (Higashiyama Hanatoro)

This year's Lantern Festival in Higashiyama Area is starting from March 6th finishing on March 15th:) You could enjoy old paths with beautiful lanterns, Japanese flower arrangements and some events happening especially on weekends.

Time: 6pm-21:30
Map and  details:

From Kyoto HanaHostel or J-hoppers, you could take city bus 206 or 100 and youcan get off
at some point where you want to start:)

But starting from Gojozaka (五条坂) would enable you to have a look of every festival place as well as sightseeing spots like Kiyomizu Temple清水寺, Kodaiji Tepmple 高台寺 and many more related areas:)

What most took my interest is sand art projection event at Chionin Temple 知恩院.
It seems the art group "SILT" will project the images of their sand art on the huge temple gate.
Must worth visiting:)

Time (3 times a night): 18:30~ 19:30~.20:30~

You could check their works from here:

Have fun!

Feb 22, 2015

2015 Grand Sumo Tournament

2015 Grand Sumo Tournament is coming to Osaka in March.
Why don't you see it if you are in Kansai area!?

Date : March 8-22
Place: Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium (BODYMAKER COLOSSEUM)
Ticket: From 3100yen-

What's SUMO?

Plum Blossoms

We can feel that spring is coming here in Kyoto.
I know that everyone is waiting for sakura (cherry blossoms), why don't you go to  see plum blossoms to start your spring?

I visited Kitano Tenmangu Shrine which is famous for plum blossoms on Feb. 19th.
It was not in full blossom but some trees are 70% in bloom.
I think the best season is going to be in early March.
You need to pay 600yen (with tea & sweet) to enter the plum garden but there are many trees on the outside of the garden as well.
Plum Blossom Viewing Festival is held on Feb. 25th and outdoor tea ceremony is performed by maiko and geiko.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
  Access...City Bus #50 to "Kitanotenmangumae"

Other places for plum blossoms...

Nijojo Castle
  Access...City Bus #9 or #50 to "Nijojomae"
Kyoto Imperial Park
  Time...24hours open
  Access...Subway Karasuma Line to "Imadegawa"

Kyoto Prefectural botanical Park
  Time...9:00-17:00 (the reception open until 16:00)
  Access...Subway Karasuma Line to "Kitayama"

Feb 13, 2015

What to do in Kyoto on St.Valentine's Day

Tomorrow the whole world will celebrate St. Valentine's Day!
Many couples will go for dinner to some fancy restaurants. But for guests coming to Kyoto we suggest much more exciting and romantic ways to spend this day.

l         Kyoto Planetarium.
Just for 510 Yen you can travel around Universe together. Science center with Planetarium is 15 min walk from Takeda Station. Show starts at 13:00 and 15:45.

l         Small picnic at Kamogawa River.
It is still little bit cold outside. But if you would like to feel romantic atmosphere of Kyoto, wear something warm, grab some snack and spend this evening at  the riverside of Kamogawa around Shijo. You can also have dinner at one of the restaurants nearby with picturesque view, however, they are quite pricey.

l         Umeda Sky Building (Osaka; 30 mins by train from Kyoto Station)
Umeda Sky Building is 173 meters high. The 40th top and the rooftop are the Floating Garden Observatory where you can enjoy the sky and panoramic views. Entrance fee is 700 Yen.

l         Day trip to Nara
One of the most romantic places in Kansai is former capital Nara with its deer and old-fashioned shops and restaurants. Walk through Nara Park, try to feed deer and of course don’t miss Todaiji- temple with the biggest statue of Buddha in Japan.

l         Yasui Konpiragu Shrine
This shrine, located at Higashiyama area, not far from Yasaka Shrine, is famous for removing all evil fate that stands in the way of happy relationships between men and women. When married or dating couples, who are matched by good fate, visit the shrine, their good relationship will not be disturbed. They should have no concerns, since they will be blessed with an even deeper and stronger connection.

So these are a few options for your date in Kyoto.
By the way, tomorrow we are having Valentine’s Day Party at J-Hoppers Kyoto! Join us!

Jan 25, 2015

Matsuo Grand Shrine

Visited Matsunoo-Taisha (Matsuo Grand Shrine) to celebrate the new year last week! Local people generally call this shrine "Matsuo-san."

Matsuo Grand Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan.
According to one of the "Kyogen (狂言)" programs called "Fuku-no-Kami (福の神)", it is said that the god of "sake" (酒神) is enshrined there.
After that, you can visit Arashiyama as well as it is easy to get from Matsuo station to Arashiyama by Hankyu Line.

*Access from Kyoto Hana Hostel*
City Bus #28 from Kyoto Station (platform: D3)to Matsuo-Taisha mae
Kyoto Bus #73 from Kyoto Station (platform: C6) to Matsuo-Taisha mae
■Train (Subway and Hankyu Line)
First taking the Subway from Kyoto Station to Shijo, changing from the subway to Hankyu Line in Shijo station. Then, taking Hankyu Line from Shijo Station to Matsuo by changing the train in Katsura Station.

Why don't you visit the west area in Kyoto city?

Jan 12, 2015


Kokolaya is a Japanese restaurant.
It is located in Gokomachi Street in Kyoto.

The atmosphere is very nice and you could feel ''Japanese Style".
You can try Japanese healthy cuisine at reasonable price.

Why don't you visit there ? :)

Lunch: 11:30 - 14:00 (until lunch are sold out)
Dinner  18:00 - 22:00

■Close: every Tuesday