Dec 22, 2017

Cold Day Hot Bath

We need warm things. Warm room? Fluffy winter socks? Kotatsu? Hot butter rum?

I was checking some bath houses around Kyoto as people ask me questions like "What's the difference between Onsen and Sentou?" "Where's the famous Onsen in Kansai?" "Where's the closest Onsen we can get from J-Hoppers?", and I found out that Kyoto has a public bath house with natural hot-spring which you can take for 430yen (410yen if you get bath ticket!).

Called Tensho-no-yu
10 mins walk from JR Nishioji station
closed: Tuesdays
open 2pm to 1am

They have multiple pools including outdoor bath or electric bath just like other Sentous, but the best part is it's natural onsen and it's cheap!

Try it and stay warm, and have a happy holiday :)

Dec 16, 2017

Machiya style Italian Restaurant

This is Saho from J-hoppers Kyoto.
One of my favorite cuisines is Italian and I have found a recommendable Italian restaurant and am happy to introduce you today.

『Dining&Cafe&Bar閏(Uruu)』is located near Nijo castle.
It is 100 year-old Machiya house and turned into a modern cafe.
Good and old atmosphere is being created both from exterior and interior of the house.
It is opened for lunch, cafe and dunner and I visited there around noon, had lunch course.
Started with appetizer, main pasta and a coffee at the end that is 1300 yen.
I really enjoyed food and cozy couch dining space.
If you are fun of Italian cuisine, this is a place to go :)

Dec 8, 2017

Christmas illlumination in Kyoto Botanical Garden

Hi, there! I'm Tomo and I work at Kyoto J-Hoppers. An autumn colored season has passed and it's only 3 weeks left this year. Christmas is coming soon!
Today, what I will introduce you is about Christmas illuminations. It will take place in Kyoto Botanical Garden from December 15th to 25th.

This is the most famous tree called Kusunokinamiki.
It's 20 meter high.

I hope you will enjoy these beautiful illuminations.

Nov 24, 2017

Koyo and Izakaya

The autumn leaves season finally has come in Kyoto

It is probably the best time for autumn leaves now in Kyoto and there are too many people coming along to see them all the way from abroad.

I like to go to temples and shrines taht are famous for autumn leaves in this season but it is also good to see them on the street while strolling.

And if you are tired to walk, you could just stop in good Japanese bar.

Nice warm food and great atmosphere will make you appreciate the cold weather.

Nov 22, 2017

November 25th Saturday

On November 25th, you can enjoy 2 things at Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine.

One is colored leaves; this shrine is one of the famous spot to see colored leaves.

You can see them both day time and night time :)

And the 2nd one is the flea market; there are plenty different kinds of items in and around the shrine and also you can eat local food since there are food stands as well.

You can enjoy these only on this Saturday so don't miss out :)

Nov 9, 2017

Enzyme Meals in Kyoto

Have you heard of enzyme meals?
Well, please don't ask me, because I don't know much except the fact it's so TASTY and HEALTHY.

This cafe called "Kouso Cafe 85" uses interesting seasonings like malts, charcoal, some kind of enzyme used as sugar.
They have plenty choices for vegetarian and vegan menus. So if you have any difficulty finding decent vegan/vegetarian restaurant, this is the place to go.


I'm not vegetarian nor vegan, but the quality of the taste and food is guaranteed!
(in Japan, it happens quite often where you are so disappointed with the quality and quantity compared to rather expensive pricing at those healthy restaurants...)



Oct 29, 2017

Koudaiji lights up

Hi, I'm Tomo and I work at J-Hoppers Kyoto.
The temperature has dropped and the leaves are just
starting to change colors. It's finally Autumn in Japan.
This will be an information blog about Kodai-Ji Illumination.
Kodai-Ji is located on the Eastern side of Kyoto, near
Kiyomizu Temple. During the Autumn season, Kyoto has many
famous spots that are featured. Although for me, Kodai-Ji
is the most beautiful.

Wow! Amazing isn't it?!
During illumination, the pond reflects the Autumn
colored leaves of the trees creating a picturesque view.
There are many visitors around this time, but it is
definitely worth going.
Please come and visit.
Kodai-ji Zen Temple
526 Shimogawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku,
Kyoto,605-0825 Japan
Date; October 21th to December 10th
                                    Time; After sunset to 9:30pm (entrance closing)
                                    Entrance Fee; 600yen

Oct 28, 2017

KIMONO experince

Hi, this is Saho from J-Kyoto.

The other day my friends and I explored Arashiyama in Kimono.
It was a bit cold day but I was warm enough as I put on a thick kimono and
was excited all the time.
My recommendable photo shooting spot is behind of RANDEN train station.
there are many colorful poles arrayed in line and are lit up at night so it is
really photogenic !
Arashiyama is surrounded by mountain and there are many temples there so vivid colored kimono would really stand out !!

Oct 4, 2017

ART FLEA MARKET this weekend!

I've already mentioned many times how amazing Kyoto's flea market culture is, and here's another info for handmade fans!

Kyoto Art Flea Market

7th - 9th October

The museum of Kyoto and Wings Kyoto (both close to subway Karasuma-oike station)

Their official website hasn't been updated much other than the schedule, but you can check the details of each artists' stuff through Facebook page!

Oct 2, 2017


IT IS ALWAYS GOOD  to drink sake with nice people at nice place.

A variety of sake bars have opened in Kyoto recently proportionate with the amount of tourists visiting kyoto.

This sake bar we went last night is one of good places in Kyoto.

They pick about 10 sake brands out of over 50 of selection as ' tonight's special '  with nicely selected small dishes go good with sake.

The location is not so convenient from Kyoto central station but if you are interested in sake , this bar is absolutely worth a stop in.

Sep 20, 2017

Matcha Place near Kyoto Station

September is nearly gone, and real autumn is just around the corner

but matcha sweets is welcomed to anyone in any season (If I'm not wrong), right?

This time, I would like to recommend 茶匠 清水一芳園 (Kiyomizu Ippoen) close from National Museum of Kyoto.

They have cold sweets, hot sweets, and even food menu.

I tried to go there with J-hoppers Kyoto staff, Sahorun, but we gave up because there were too many people waiting. So it's actually a good idea to go there during Kyoto's low season like now.

Google map:

Enjoy Kyoto's autumn with great sweet:)

Sep 18, 2017

Food Sample :)

Have you ever been to Kyoto tower since they renewed ?
If not, you should go !

Since they renovated, it is very fun place to go especially 1st floor (or 2nd floor for American English speaker) !

On that floor, you can try to make something special and I personally recommend to try food samples.
You might have seen them at the entrance pf some restaurants in their display.

These are not real one, it's all made by plastics !!!

It is pretty sure difficult to make such like them but at least you can try basic, simple and easy one at Kyoto tower :)
It might be good idea to try as a part of memory from Japan :)

Day & Time : 9 am - 9 pm *last entry till 8pm
Place : inside Kyoto tower on 1st floor
*advanced reservation preferred

Aug 27, 2017

Food court revolution (Kyoto tower)

Food court to me was always a place for family day-out or teenagers' hangout.
Although the new food court on the basement floor of Kyoto Tower building is probably the most hip and stylish one I've been to!

Kyoto Tower Sando - Renewal in April 2017

Finally had a chance to visit, and I was just amazed by their selection of restaurants and cozy atmosphere. You can order food at the each shop and have it at their counter table, or you can have it at the center tables (photo above). 

My pick-ups would be
1. Sukemasa (Gyouza dumplings)
What makes this Gyouza unique is their "local ingredients" such as miso or green onion from Kyoto, and their Teishoku (set) is pretty reasonable!

2.The Roots of all evil. (standing bar)
I've talked about Kyoto craft gin Kinobi on this blog the other time, this standing bar is their second shop! You can try their unique gin menu!

And also, they have some events at the food court like:

OH MY GOSH. DJ is spinning at the food court? Totally mind blowing.

You should definitely pay a visit and try their food and atmosphere!


Aug 17, 2017

Indulge myself in chocolates

Hi, this is Saho from J-Hoppers Kyoto.

The topic of today is one of my favorite sweets, chocolate.
I come across many chocolatier in Kyoto and I would like to share my favorite chocolate server, "BEL AMER".
This shop has prevailed in all over Japan but it has first root in Kyoto.
The head office is located near Karasuma Oike station so is really accessible and good to stop by for a souvenir hunting or a short break in the middle of shopping or exploring.

They have a lot of variety of chocolates on the first floor and the cafe is available on the second floor.
After having chocolate drinks in the cafe, head to hunt your favorite chocolates !!

Aug 10, 2017


One of The biggest summer event in Kyoto (Gozan-no-okuribi)

On 16th August, five huge bonfires showing up in the night sky.
Gozan-no Okuribi is the most representative of the Obon (an annual Buddhist event for commemorating ancestors) observations and huge bonfires are lit on the five mountains surrounding the city.

(The lighting times, characters, and meanings)

8:00PM Daimonji (大文字), "large" or "great:"
8:05PM Myō/Hō (妙・法), "wondrous dharma" (referring to Buddhist teachings):
8:10PM Funagata (舟形), the shape of a boat:
8:15PM Hidari Daimonji (左大文字), "large" or "great:"
8:20PM Toriigata (鳥居形), the shape of a torii or shrine gate:

(Good paces to see)
Demachiyanagi station along Kamo River; wide space, but many people
Funaokayama Park; able to see 4 of 5, but the most popular and crowded
Kyoto Imperial Palace; Less people than ①、② and wider space.
Aeon Mall Gojo; Less people than ①、②、③

Jul 8, 2017


Do you like Bonsai?
The other day I bought "Kokedama" moss ball plant.

「苔玉 京都」の画像検索結果

And it's soooo cute. You have to take good care of it, but you'll see it changes everyday. Conditions change depending on weather. Very interesting to observe.

It' not Bonsai, but I'm seriously interested in having Bonsai now.
For those who are also interested, visit those places when you are in Kyoto!

1. Kyoto Botanical Garden : more than 40 kinds of Bonsai any time of the year.
2. Kojuen (小品盆栽 京都 広樹園):a shop which sells Bonsai

Let's Bonsai everybody

Fushimi Inari Summer Festival

On this month, there is the summer festival at Fushimi Inari shrine.

It will be decorated by millions number of red paper lanterns and give you nostalgic atmosphere. It is definitely worth to see !

Date & Time : July 22nd from 6 pm, July 23rd from 9 am

You can also experience ”Bon dance". (Bon dance is originally an event to calm the ancestral spirits that came back during Obon season. However, it is enjoyed as a recreational event nowadays and the religious meaning has softened.)

Jul 5, 2017

Exploring Nagoya


I went to Nagoya for my cousin's wedding last month.

I actually had never been to Nagoya until then even though my home is located closer to there than other big cities.

So I decided to take an opportunity to exploring Nagoya.

First off, I went to " Oasis 21 " which is a building for events and a place for relaxation and refreshment.
There were different types of cafe and restaurants so it was literally an Oasis in the big city.
I had Hitsuma-bushi ( Chopped broiled eel on rice: which is a famous dish in Nagoya) for lunch. It tasted sooo good!!

And next, me and my friend went to Oosu which is a shopping district, especially famous for vintage clothes.

Although they were called vintage clothes, they sell nice-cheap stuff and I loved it ( mostly japanese vintage shops sell clothes in high price...)

↑Me delighting in the vintage clothes

I thought Nagoya was just an industrial city which has nothing to see much but I was wrong...
I had great fun!

If you are planning to come to Japan, I'd recommend you to put Nagoya on your list!!

Jun 20, 2017

For Granola lovers

Do you fancy Granola ?
"COCOLO KYOTO" is a popular cafe specialized in Granola.
Beautiful roasted aroma is coming and going through the shops as they make their Granola on the site .

They also array and sell each Granola in the shop so if you find your favorite one, you can take them back home !!

Why don't you go and try fabulous Granola :)

Rainy day twilightin'

Seems like the rainy season is starting from late this week here in Kyoto (even the official announcement for the beginning of the season was around 10 days ago!)

What would you like to do on a rainy day?
My suggestion is to go check all the beautiful museums around the town, and spend hours and hours at a cafe, watching people and sipping coffee.

Here's my favorite in town.
Called Sarasa Pausa just off the Sanjo street, small cafe with really relaxed atmosphere, and their amazing sweets always make me indecisive to pick up one! (and usually end up choosing two, oh well)

And you can have seat by the window on the second floor where you can watch people coming and going with their colorful umbrellas!

Sarasa Pausa

May 14, 2017

Green leaves !

All of us have know already that Kyoto is very famous for colored leaves in Autumn.
Did anyone have idea you can see them green version on this month ?

On this month, these leaves get fresh green color and it looks beautiful and powerful so you may feel that you are getting more energy !
Also a lot less people wherever you go within the city on this season so then you can have more time to enjoy the scenery !

Now here is the recommendation for you !
☆Kifune Shrine : open for night time as well only on this month.
On every Saturday and Sunday in May, from sunset to 8 pm.

☆Shimogamo Shrine : One of the oldest shrine.

☆Kenninji Temple : The oldest zen temple in Kyoto.

☆Toufukuji Temple : beautiful scenery from the bridge and cozy Japanese garden. 

May 8, 2017

Kamogawa Odori (Geisha Dancing)

Miyako Odori (都をどり) in Gion district in April is over.

And now, it's the turn for Pontocho district, the time for Kamogawa Odori (鴨川をどり). It's actually already started, but it will be until May 23rd so if you are around,
why not??

Tickets can be purchased via their website (which is all in Japanese), so recommended way is to make a phone call: 075-221-2025 in the hope of someone can speak another languages.


Don't turn your back to this just because you've seen Miyako Odori.
Each district has it's own feature, i.e. Gion is very traditional whereas Pontocho is more flexible towards other cultures.

I can also recommend this book "Geisha" by Liza Dulby alongside of you bisiting Kyoto.She is an ethnologist specializes in Geisha study, and she wrote this book based on her experience of throwing herself into Geisha world for a year.

I talked to much blah blah blah..

Hope this information will help someone who wish to find some of the Geisha world out!

Apr 26, 2017

Tenjin-san and green maples

I posted how much I'm in love with flea markets in Kyoto a while ago (about Toji market then), and this time at Kitano-tenmangu shrine!

It was good 15 mins bike ride from my new place to Kitano-tenmangu through Onmae street, you get to see big Torii gate sitting there.

I got there at around 11, and it was already fairly crowded with locals, travelers and school kids.
I couldn't help comparing all the shops or vibes with Toji one but I guess it's different in good/bad ways. For example, if you get in to the Kitano shrine through the central gate, you will see a lot of food stalls that you can usually find at any other festivals - which means they are not local based. I'm not against them but the more local the better to me!
Although the market place at Kitano is very very spacious, so it was easier to check the shops with less crowd because of the location too which is not as convenient as Toji.

sekihan manju was a big hit, DELISHHH!

cute massage break

And after strolling around the market, I decided to go check the shrine itself which is quite big and pretty famous for the patron saint of students, who flock here from all over the country to pray for success in examinations, especially high school and university entrance exams.

And I noticed that they have now special opening for "Ao-momiji" (fresh green maple leaves) time, and I'm glad I tried it. (Entrance fee is 500yen.)

Those trees lining up along the walking path are plum trees that make this shrine popular for its season too, and walking through fresh green with just the sound of stream and birds was such a great feeling, refreshing and very cozy especially for me who grew up in the mountains!

We can easily imagine that those maple trees would be absolutely amazing in Autumn when they change the color into red/orange, but it might be a good thing that the shrine is not well known for the autumn color? at least not as well as some other sites.

I highly recommend you to check the flea market (25th every month) for your cultural experience and maybe souvenir shopping, and Kitano-tenmangu for quality quiet time in nature!