Dec 16, 2016

Vegan cafe to go !

Hi this is Saho from J-Hoppers Kyoto Guest House.
My topic today is Vegan cafe, "CHOICE" and it is highly recommendable place for someone vegan, dairy free or gluten free !

They serve a variety of meals such as vegan burgers , gluten free pastas or pizzas and pancakes so this is a cafe to go for breakfast through dinner.

The cafe is light and airy and peaceful so good with solo, friends or couples.

Acai Bowl

Rum and raisin pancake

It is accessible from Sanjo Keihan train and please check it out if you ever have chances :-)

Thank you .

Dec 8, 2016


Arashiyama Hanatouro, one of the most popular illumination events in Kyoto is staged from Dec. 9th for 10 days.

During the period, "Tsukijuya" an event on the theme of moon is held at Shigureden.
The event contains astronomical observation, cafe, workshop, market, etc.....

You can see illuminated Togetsu-kyo Bridge and bamboo forest from the hall.


Dates: Dec. 10th (Sat), 17th (Sat), 18th (Sun)
         *Dec. 9th, 11th-16th Art Exhibition
Hours: 17:00-20:30  (Last admission 20:00)
Venue: Shigureden, the hall of Ogura Hyakunin Isshu
Admission: 200yen

-Arashiyama Hanatouro-

Dates: Dec. 9th (Fri)-18th (Sun)
Hours: 17:00-20:30

Dec 5, 2016

Yamazaki quality time

If you're whiskey fan (or even if you're not),you might have heard of Yamazaki whiskey which has been recognized as one of the best whiskeys in the world.

Luckily I got a chance to visit the Yamazaki distillery thanks to my friend who made a reservation for the guided tour at very last minutes, actually it was full until a day before but he kept an eye on online booking and he took a spot that someone just canceled! Lucky me!

We took JR line to Yamazaki station which only took 15 mins from Kyoto station, and the town itself looked lovely being surrounded mountains. And here we are, Yamazaki!

I think you can get better/more information about Japanese whiskey and what makes it special

my sister, being excited

Guided tour was pretty impressive, my friends who are non Japanese native speakers got offered English audio guide that you sometimes see at museums, and tour guide will tell you which number to press and you can follow along with the tour, so language is not a problem!

distillation hall with three different shapes of pot stills for different characters

aging room - that cask is as old as her!

At the end of the tour, we got to the tasting room! (Look how happy my sister is!)

We got to try 3 different whiskeys - 2 from right are the same, tried one straight and another with soda (highball)

of course Instagram #Yamazaki

Kanpai with our perfect highballs! OMG, what kind of highballs have I had? The one made with proper instruction was so different from what I've ever tasted, smooth yet refreshing!

Thank you Lane and his crew for making reservation for us!
 And after fun tasting time, we walked around the museum part and studied their history and other top whiskeys - Scottish, American and Canadian.

After we left the distillery, we decided to go for a walk in the bush to see the last autumn colors - the air was crisp enough to cool us down a bit after extra tasting, red is vivid, the area was so quiet that made me ask myself "where am I?" especially compared to hustle and bustle in Kyoto for its busy season!  

I'd definitely recommend everyone to visit there for a small trip from Kyoto/Osaka.
You can check their tour vacancy through this link:

Happy winter! :)

Nov 6, 2016

Leaf peeping !!!

Day by day, it is getting cooler and cooler here so leaves start turning yellow or red.

Kyoto is now telling us the best season of the year is just around the corner :)

On this season, some temples in Gion area open even after sunset so you can enjoy illuminated Japanese maples not only daytime.

If you are not sure what to do night time in Kyoto, these may be tips of your leaf peeping :)

*Kodaiji Temple : until December 11th, sunset - 9:30 pm, 600 JPY for entrance

*Entokuin Temple : until December 11th, sunset - 9:30 pm (Except December 9 & 10th), 500 JPY for entrance


*Chionin Temple : until December 4th, 5:30 pm - 9 pm, 800 JPY for entrance


*Shorenin Temple : until December 4th, 6 pm - 9:30 pm, 800 JPY for entrance


*Kiyomizu Temple : until December 4th, 6 pm - 9 pm, 400 JPY for entrance

Alright People ! now are you ready for leaf peeping !?

Oct 31, 2016

Kodaiji art and nature

Kodaiji - one of my favorite temples in Kyoto

I was excited to visit there again for its beautiful light-up event, which takes place twice a year Spring and Autumn.

What you can see (blurry) in between trees is called "Gion-kaku" pagoda, and I figured it out that it's also called "Copper temple"!

The highlight of this event is projection mapping at the beautiful Zen garden, the theme of this Autumn is "Hyakki Yakou", a night walk of a hundred Demons. It was very quiet, still a bit spooky but very dynamic and cool!  

We started walking around the temple.

My favorite spot of Kodaiji is this great reflecting pond which is incredibly clear and calm (it was not windy at all), the water mirror was absolutely breathtaking!  

And they small bamboo forest - walking through the green bamboo was very spiritual, still refreshing and relaxing at the same time.

The night was crisp, and we decided to have some warm treat at a small cafe space at the entrance. Something hot and soupy - Matcha Zenzai (green tea red bean paste soup) was simply amazing after the temple walk!

I definitely recommend you to visit there for beautiful Autumn season, temple + art + nature + night view + sweets...what could we ask more?!

Kodaiji temple
526 Kodaiji Shimo-Kawaramachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
Light-up till 11th Dec, last entry 21:30 
entrance fee: 600JPY

Oct 11, 2016

Get yourself pampered !

Do you fancy SENTO ( Public bath) ?

My recommendable Sento in Kyoto is  "GOKOYU(五香湯).
Not only they  have a bubble bath, an electric bath , sauna and so on like normal bath houses around, but they also have a GANBANYOKU (Bedrock Bath).
Ganbanyoku is a sauna-like spa that you lie on warm natural stones.
The ultra red ray from the stones activate our autonomic nerves and let metabolism go well !

What makes this Gokoyu stand out is a  Ore Bad Gastein from Austria.
It is really effective for many diseases.
So relaxing and soothing !

Why don't you get your body fresh ? :-)

Oct 6, 2016

Awata Festival

Awata Shrine is in Gion Area which is not one of Kyoto's famous shrines though, it is popular in autumn for its tunnel of coloured leaves.
And it has a big festival in this month!

Oct. 9th (from 18:00)
-Awata Huge Lanterns-
 Various kinds of lanterns will parade around the shrine.

-Yowatari Shinji-
 Shinto priests and monks will welcome the divine spirit by walking around the stone called “Uryuseki” for three times.This Shinto ritual is a ceremony to give thanks to god of Awata who descended.

Oct. 10th (from 12:30)
  It is held to give strength to shrine parishioners by parading around the area.
  On this day, more than 200 people will carry huge Mikoshi (portable shrines) around the town.       Also, group of people who hold long-handled spears will purify the parade road by the spears.       Although these spears weight about 40 - 60 kilogram and height about 7 - 8 meters, people who   hold them balance well while parading.

Oct. 15th (from 11:00)
 Bugaku (court dance and music) will be performed on the stage.

Access: 7min walk from Subway Tozai Line "Higashiyama Station"
            5min walk from "Jingu-michi Bus Stop"

Sep 7, 2016

Dear beer lovers !

Hi there !

Today I am introducing Oktober Fest in Kyoto.

You may think why in Kyoto ?
But this is nice excuse to drink beer as much as you want !
And it's nice to drink out side :)

Somehow, it is held on this month but who cares !?
Let's enjoy the cool summer in Kyoto :)

Date : September 18th, Sunday
Time : 12:30pm - 7pm
Place : open-air concert hall at Maruyama Park *Behind Yasaka Shrine, Gion

Don't miss out !!!



Aug 16, 2016

Yummy...Maccha parfait in Kyoto Station

Are you looking for any Japanese dessert after lunch or dinner in Kyoto?
Tsujiri is one of famous Japanese cafes, where there is a variety of dessert using ”maccha” and ”houji-cha.”
Its brunch is located on the 6th floor in ISETAN department store next to Kyoto station.
Today, many people were in a queue when we visited there, but it was worth visiting :)
Why don't you eat special Tsujiri parfait??

Aug 15, 2016

Twilight rooftop In the Moon.

Summer in Kyoto is stunningly beautiful, a lot of historical/cultural stuff going on - but very hot and sticky.
One of my MUST summer activities other than beach chillaxing and camping is ROOFTOP!
I know it's kinda silly to call it activity, but I found an amazing place and it always makes me want to dress up a bit and drags me out of air-conditioned room.

In the Moon.
My friend and former cleaner Ellie found this place on Instagram just right after people posted some photos from their pre-opening night back in the end of June. I was so pumped because it totally looked like rooftop bar in our beloved Melbourne! 

So this is what I'm talking about. Ready?

Watching the sunset from there is so romantic and breathtaking. OK sounds a bit exaggerated but in the middle of Gion area with spectacular city view of Kyoto, along the river feeling summer breeze...hands down.

I highly recommend everyone to try their great Mojito which is not cheap (1,000JPY) but once again, when I think of this amazing location and beautiful view, no table charge and overall nice time - isn't it bad?

What about them?

Absolutely fantastic. First time I got there back in the first week of July, it was so slow and chill that I could talk to the owner guy who is actually a friend of my friend, but as time passes I can tell it's getting more popular and it's hard to get a seat there especially on weekend. They don't serve food there but you can have great meal at In the Soup. on 9th floor.

This is a nice spot to have a casual hangout, nice place to have quality girls' talk or take your date!

In the Moon. (In the Soup.)
Address: Kamogawa building, 200 Nakano-cho , Higashiyama-ku
Hours: 6pm ~ 11:30pm
Closed: Wednesday 
The rooftop bar is open till mid October

Aug 11, 2016

Light Festival


Kyoto is now literally at the peak of summer and it is quite tough to be outside in the daytime because of the heat...

However, there are lots of nighttime events!

I am curious about this exhibition, the World Heritage Site, Shimogamo Shrine is lit up with mysterious lights!

It consists of two different arts, "Resonating Trees" and "Resonating Spheres".

Why don't you get impressed by this special event? :)

Term: August 17th (Wed) - 31st (Wed)
         *"Resonating Spheres" is only open on Aug. 17th (Wed) and on the weekend (Sat. and Sun.)

Venue: Shimogamo Shirine

Admission: Free ("Resonating Spheres": 500yen)

Hours: 18:00-21:30

Aug 7, 2016

Night Hike

I did a a hike in Mt. Atago(愛宕山)on 31st July.
This is the highest peak of the mountain in Kyoto city.

Every 31st of July, there is an annual event at the mountain which is "Sennichi Mairi ".
Visiting to the shrine on this day gives worshipers as much benefit as 1000 times visit. 

I and other J-Hoppers crew and guests got the starting point at 7 pm and headed to the peak.
The road was very rough and steep so it seemed quite tough hike.
Although, climbers gave encouraging words each other therefore, nice atmosphere was there and was so warm hearting and encouraging !

After 2 hours , we finally got the peak ! There is a 1400 year-old shrine at the top of the mountain and it was full of people and was so lively !

What was the hardest part for me was climbing down to the bottom.
It was quite scary and herd to walk down on rocky steps.

We got back to the starting point at 11:30 pm and it was so fun and accomplishing !

Will try again next summer :-)

Jun 26, 2016

Tips on how to spend rainy days in Kyoto


I don't dislike rain but don't like myself trying to be lazy because of the weather. So I try to be as active as I can, finding some cool indoor attractions and activities.

Spoccha - massive entertainment center with all sorts of fun sections to enjoy, pretty much any games and sports you can think of for a set price (around 2,500 yen).

We took a free shuttle bus from Kyoto station, look how excited we were!.

You can even play Taiko no tatsujin for FREE.

Yes, arcade for free. Can't believe. I could have spent 24 hours there.

Omg Bubble soccer was probably everyone's favorite! It was so much fun both playing and watching!


Thanks for the awesome sporty day!

Rissho-cinema project - it was back in September, I found a cool abundant elementary school in the middle of the town. And I was curious if anything would happen there at some point, and I finally saw a sign that they opened a cafe and cinema there, and also they were showing a film that I wanted to watch called "Banksy Does New York"! So me, two helpers decided to try it out.

Nostalgic - the school reminded me of my old elementary school before it was renovated in 1996. Good old smell of wood, warm lights and squeaky wooden floor/hall way.
The cinema was in old teachers room which was small but they set up seats and screen nicely, I loved it. And the film itself was pretty good - I had watched some movies about him but Banksy Does New York is absolutely my favorite so far, very entertaining with slight British sense of humor but still got very strong messages that everyone can discuss after watching it. Highly recommended!

I hope you enjoy this beautiful rainy season with a lot of fresh green and something fun/inspirational!