Aug 29, 2018

My favorite "post last-train bar" in Kyoto

I don't consider Kyoto as a party city, although Kyoto is perfect place if you like to wander around at night and find hole-in-the-wall places.

Also fun part of going out in Kyoto is you can meet friendly locals as well as travelers from around the world!

Oops, you missed your last train? DON'T YOU WORRY. There are still many places where you can enjoy deep night drink/night cap in town until you catch the first train home! I will introduce you to my secret place to end the night.

Ishimaru Shoten
"What a tiny alleyway...!" I was so excited when my friend from home took me there for the first time which was almost 6 years ago. It's on a small alley in between busy Kiyamachi and quiet Pontocho, you will see cool stained glass lamps hanging from above, that's Ishimaru.
I love people there. They have two bartenders, first half until 0:30 is Ishi time. Ishi-san is super low-key and so funny, and he is very good at connecting people. And he told me that he's making new lamps himself (!) crafty person. And at Ishi time, I meet a lot of travelers! They surprisingly find the place by chance, and it's always nice to talk to them about their country, Japan and just anything and nothing in general.

After around 0:30, it would be Non time! Non-san is also very chill, seems quiet but I like to see his Kansai-person side being chatty and witty, and I think the best part of Non-san time is again people there - this place is open until early in the morning, so many people who work at other bars/restaurants come after they close their own. I really like to talk to working professionals who work for service industry, and love to make new connection!

Sometimes serious/silly conversations keep going until like 7:30 in the morning without even realizing it.


This photo is from Ishi's surprise birthday bash, giving him Nintendo switch from us Ishi regulars. Sometimes we "team Ishi people" hang out outside the bar too, like going to chill on the beach in Omi-maiko, or house party or just picnic.

Ishi-san and Non-san both speak good English, and as I mentioned, you always meet interesting people. Hope you find it fun! (And maybe you will find me there!)

Aug 24, 2018

Inspiring sweets in Kyoto

This is Saho from JKyoto.

I found an inspiring cafe the other day.
「Kamon piu」is located in north-west part in the city and is about 5 min walk from Enmachi station.

This is what it looks like from the outside.
As you see, the cute blue antique door is welcoming you.

The building itself is an apartment from 2nd floor and there is cafe 「kamon piu」on the first floor.

They are brought up on SNS these days because of their beautiful millefeuille.
Millefeuille is a french pastry that consists of layers of thin puff pasty and cream filling. Their strawberry millefeuille became very popular because of the impact of how it looks ! It might remind you of five storied pagoda !

But I tried Peach millefeuille that day.
(Maybe they provide their sweets with some fruits in season :)
They use one whole peach so it is filling and satisfying !

They also serve lunch  and you can find various types of pasta and pizza !
I tried lemon cream pasta with octopus and peppers :)
It was very new for me and refreshing :) !

More information about kamon piu is as follows:
https://tabelog.com/en/kyoto/A2601/A260501/26027389/


Jun 23, 2018

Where to visit in Aichi (Nagoya) ?

Are you keen on traveling around the world but no time and no money for that ?
Here's the best place for you to explore the world in just one day !

Aiichi (Its capital is Nagoya) has fascinating theme park , what is called " Little World". It might reminds you of World Expo and you can walk through the park with the sight of houses of each countries and lean what their living like !
More interestingly, you can enjoy food each countries or dress in costumes and take pictures !  My friend and I tried Indian and Indonesian outfits !


Access from Kyoto : 35mins Shinkansen ride and get to Nagoya station
25mins train ride(Meitetsu Inuyama Line) and get to Inuyama station
20mins bus ride(Gifu Bus) and to get to Little World

http://www.littleworld.jp/

The more people you have in your group, the more fun and enjoyable!!
Enjoy your time in Aichi Prefecture !!

Jun 22, 2018

New cultural center called "Neo Sujin"

I don't consider myself as "trend hunter" but my friends in Kyoto always bring me to all the new hot area!

My new favorite spot to hang out is called "Neo Sujin" (Sujin Shinmachi in Japanese) which is located pretty close to Kyoto station, 15 to 20 mins walk from J-Hoppers Kyoto.

I would say it's food stand complex or outdoor dining, which has large number of seats both inside and outside, including standing area in front, and fire place on the back, cool tipi tent as a smoking room!
And their food/drink selection is great - you can enjoy Kyoto burger to local delicacy called Choboyaki which looks similar to Takoyaki, to craft beer to organic wine!








It's not just a dining space, they sometimes have cultural event like Rakugo Japanese sit-down comedy, live-paint, coffee tasting and so on. They even have a Kimono rental shop!

Interesting (and sad) fact about this place is actually they are closing in 2 years when they relocate Kyoto university of art, so you better be hurry!

And surprising to see that they have been already listed on Google Maps saying "Neo sujin town open air beer garden" which is nice! I like it!




Apr 24, 2018

KYOTOGRAPHIE time

Kyoto never failed to impress me with many cultural things to offer all year around.

Kyotographie is one of my favorite events of the year - annual photo exhibition throughout the city from mid April to mid May, and the biggest reason why I'm so intrigued is the venues of this event. You can enter the world of "unreal" in this touristic city through Kyotographie.

Some of the unique locations this year:
Kyoto Shimbun B1, Former Printing Plant
Image result for kyotographie 京都新聞

Sazanga-Kyu(Former Ice Factory)












Image result for kyotographie 三三九

Kyoto City Central Wholesale Market, Bldg No. 10, 11 south wall
Related image

You can visit all the cool places that are usually closed and forgotten, it's so inspiring!

Until 13th May
https://www.kyotographie.jp/


Apr 20, 2018

Very last chance for HANAMI this year

I visited HARADANIEN in the middle of April to enjoy HANAMI(cherry blossom viewing) for the very last chance this year!
HARADANIEN is located northern part of city and in the middle of residential area apart from busy touristic places.

There are more than 20 types of cherry blossom trees along with some seasonal flowers on the ground.
One sakura hit the peak of bloom in early April but some are at the end of April so you can enjoy sakura for a whole month here.

Those are from 10th April when I visited.



This garden is opened in public until this Sunday the 22nd.
Apparently, you can still enjoy a late blooming sakura !

Go and visit cherry blossom paradise and enjoy the very last HANAMI ;)

Apr 13, 2018

Wisterias in Toba & Azaleas in Keage

 After the cherry blossoms, wisterias & azaleas gonna bloom in Kyoto.
There are pretty popular places to see them where open for public only 5 days in a year, at the best season!

【Wisterias in Toba】
Place: Toba Water Environment Protection Center
Date: 26th April - 30th April
Time: 10am - 4pm (last admission at 3:30pm)
Access from our guesthouse: Direct bus from Kyoto station
Fee: FREE

【Azaleas in Keage】
Place: Keage Water Purification Plant
Date: 2nd May - 6th May
Time: 10am - 4pm (last admission at 3:30pm)
Access from our guesthouse: Subway Kujo station - (transfer at Karasuma Oike station) - Keage station
Fee: FREE

 We still have some availability for some of these days, why don't you come to Kyoto to see not only temples & shrines but beautiful flowers as well?

Mar 4, 2018

Nikomi dishes (Stewed dishes)

Hello, this is Saho  from JHoppers Kyoto.

I am asked what is reasonable and approachable traditional Japanese dishes apart from wagyu or Kaiseki.
My answer would be homemade style cooking that can be easily cooked and served at home.

One of my recommendable restaurant in Kyoto is "Nikomi Suzuya" and they serve Japanese home cooking at shop.
Most of the dishes they offer are stewed dishes, such as stewed vegetables , eggs, tofu (soybean curd) etc.... Japanese curry is also one of the popular stewed dishes.

If you are looking for reasonable Japanese meals, this is a place to go :)

https://tabelog.com/en/kyoto/A2601/A260201/26016033/


Feb 28, 2018

Kyoto Deep Friday Night

Some travelers are up for going-out in Kyoto..."where should I go on Friday night?" that's the question they sometimes ask me.

It really varies depending on their style or mood, some people prefer having fancy quiet night sipping whiskey at dim speakeasy bar, some prefer dancing like crazy, some prefer rocking at Karaoke.

One Friday night - me, my friends and some of our guests decided to go see Drag Show at Metro in Jingu Marutamachi station.

A drag show is an entertainment which is performed by drag artists.
Many drag shows feature performers singing or lip-synching to songs while performing a pre-planned pantomime, or dancing. The performers often don elaborate costumes and makeup, and sometimes dress to imitate various famous opposite sex singers or personalities. And some events are centered around drag, such as Southern Decadence where the majority of festivities are led by the Grand Marshals, who are traditionally drag queens. (wikipedia)


 So it begins - entrance is 2,000yen including one drink ticket (two drink tickets for foreigners and students!), and we waited for the show chatting up and dancing to warm up.





It was so much fun seeing the show which was very artistic and fascinating! The drag queens entertained people with their dance and lip-synching, sometimes giving people flowers!

Metro is one of the coolest clubs I've been to, and chosen as one of the most unique clubs in the world!
https://www.metro.ne.jp/perspective

People there were very chill and friendly, we met some tourists but most of them were locals/students. You can for sure make some friends!

About Drag Show:
"Diamonds are forever" last Friday of the month
https://www.metro.ne.jp/diamonds-are-forever

Feb 27, 2018

Sanjusangen-do Shuntoe

Hi, I'm Tomo, work at J-hoppers Kyoto.
This is a good news for a upcoming event.

In the spring of the Sanjusangen-do temple, "Peach's festival" will be held named after "Sanjusangendo", Celebratory events are held, such as worshiping flower arrangement of Flower Ikebana and Hana exhibition, worshiping the 1000 Kannon statue from the special high altar. Limited women's exclusive "Charm of peach" will be awarded.

Date&Time; March 3rd (9:00~15:30)
Admission fee; free(usually 600yen)
Access; 25mins walk or city bus #202 #207 #208 from Oishibashi to Higashiyama  Nanajo

Why don't you go visit there and get impressed by lots of Kannon statue!!?

Jan 10, 2018

Art of Hiroshige Utagawa

Do you know what is Ukiyo-e?
It is a genre of Japanese art which was very popular back in Edo period (17th to 19th centuries).

Hiroshige Utagawa is one of the most popular Ukiyo-e artists and his art can be seen in Hiroshima Museum of Art now.

Hiroshige even influenced Gogh and Monet.



* Date: January 3rd - February 12th, 2018
* Time: 9AM - 5PM
* Entrance fee: 1,300yen

Check this out if you are into art!

Jan 9, 2018

Kinosaki-Onsen!!!!!!



Kinosaki onsen is one of the greatest holiday destinations in Japan.

There are many hot spring facilities and also it is famous for seafood since it is located by the sea.

Me and my friends went there the other day.

We, first, rent a car from Kyoto. It took around 4 hours driving up to Kinosaki onsen.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, it was the day a big snow storm hit Kinosaki-Onsen and snow covered all over the city instantly.



The city of Kinosaki covered by snow.



















When we got to there, first we got a ticket which allows us go several Spa for a day (we heard there are 6 facilities in the city).

Although we could go only 3, they were amazing!

Hot water was a little bit hot for me but it was Ok.




Its us being stuck in snow in the mountain on the way to our airbnb.
I saw the most beautiful sky I have ever seen in my entire life there.

Luckily, we had been saved by a stranger. Big kiss for him!



First time making a snowman this year!




And finally, seafood..... No crabs but I realised shrimps taste 10 times better for meeeeeee.

Many things happened, I loved this trip!




Jan 8, 2018

New Sightseeing Spot in Kyoto

Happy New Year 2018!

Crowded new year's eve and new year's holidays  already became past.
And sadly Kyoto is about to enter "apparently nothing's going on" time of the year.

It's cold, no event going on, no flower etc...
Oh yes I cannot deny those, but! there is a new place to go for you.

It's 十二十二 (Toni Toni) close by Heian Jingu shrine, in Okazaki area where there are many museums and some small nice cafes and restaurants.

It just opened last December and it features Jidai Mastri (時代祭) which is held in October every year. In the festival, people with traditinal clothings from each historical era maech around the city of Kyoto, and at Toni Toni, you can enjoy the festival anytime of the year.

There are also some restaurants and cafes:)

Add Toni Toni to things to do list!!

Website: http://1022.kyoto.e.adg.hp.transer.com/

Jan 4, 2018

Toka Ebisu

For five lively days in January thousands throng to a small shrine in Gion to pray to Ebisu, the god of good fortune. 

The first major festival of the year in Kyoto is Toka Ebisu. “Toka” means the tenth day, and Ebisu is the god of good fortune and prosperity. Though centred on the 10th of January, this festival actually lasts for five days from the 8th until the 12th. During this time thousands of visitors crowd into Ebisu Shrine to conduct a simple ritual of prayer for ongoing success in their work and business.
Many people buy branches of lucky bamboo grass, called Fuku-Zasa which has been blessed in a special ritual by a shrine maiden. They then buy more lucky charms and talismans, which they attach to the bamboo branch. These charms come in all kinds of designs, but two of the most common are treasure boats for wealth and red sea bream for future success.

Throughout the festival there are a number of special ceremonies and events such as Mochi-tsuki, the Rice Pounding Ritual, 

and the Hoekago parade by performers from Toei Kyoto Studio Park etc...

Also this festival is a good opportunity to see maiko, the apprentice geisha of Kyoto. On the afternoon of January 11th, maiko from the geisha district of Gion sit in the main hall and give out lucky rice cakes and branches of lucky bamboo grass. In the evening maiko from the Miyagawa district do the same. This is when sales of lucky bamboo grass reach their peak!
Personally, my favorite part of this festival is simply wandering by the festival stalls that line the streets leading to Ebisu Shrine. All kinds of cheap goods are on offer and plenty of food and drink. When night descends the streets seem to come alive with illuminated colourful stalls selling tako-yaki octopus dumplings, kara-age deep fried chicken, and ringo-ame candy apples. Local restaurants are also busy with hungry pilgrims. Some stalls sell hot sake, and others sell hot wine. Truly, for a little while, Ebisu has brought good cheer and prosperity to this area at least.
Toka Ebisu Festival Date and Time
January 8th 9 AM - 11 PM
January 9th 9 AM - January 11th midnight (open all day, all night)
January 12th 9 AM - 10 PM
Ebisu shrine is 5 mins walk form exit #1 @ Keihan railway