Dec 28, 2009

Christmas days at J-Hoppers Osaka

How did you spend your Christmas?
We had a big Christmas party on the 23rd in J-Hoppers Osaka.
The president of J-Hoppers and the manager of Kyoto, and another staff also could come to join us, so it become a sort of year-end dinner party at the end :)

The main menu was Tomato nabe. "Nabe" is Japanese traditional winter food, but Tomato nabe is/was not! Somehow it's become popular in this year, or I can say the meals with lots of tomato are very popular in Japan now. Actually, there is Tomato ramen(noodle) restaurant near J-Hoppers Osaka. About the first time they opened, we wondered if it's good or not, but now we like it so much and it's always crowded !

Anyway, we cooked Tomato nabe with a bit anxious.. as it's the first time for us to cook here..
But it was successful! We put many succulent pork cooked with garlic,and seafoods, sausages and lots of vegetables, then all of them made delicious soup! mmm.. yum!!

Also, Sawako cooked "chili con carne(チリコンカン)" , and one of cleaner staff Sachi cooked another dish as one of appetizer. They're also so nice and we couldn't stop eating.

While we're eating, of couse, another cleaner staff Mr.Yano coudn't help showing his magic show!!

One of guest was stimulated by him and started showing her magic,too!

At the end of party, we enjoyed Pascal's handmade apple& chocolate cake with icecream!!
That taste still makes me hungry..

Well, we're a nice team, aren't we?


On the 24th, we planned to present a small gift for each guests who stayed on that day.
We bought many sweets and snacks and packed in a small cute bag.. for boys.
Because, Fumi made beautiful origami boxed for girls and we put some sweets in there.
It must be women's prerogative.. how lucky we girls are!

She did very well and worked so hard, and made 17 boxes in total!

Even when they started check-in, she was making them beside..

We're soooo glad, because we could make them smile and happy with our small gift!

Good-job, Fumi !

Thank you for everyone who shared your time with us on such a special days,
we hope you enjoyed your stay and see you next time!

Dec 27, 2009

New Year in Osaka (2009 update !)

I'm almost late for the update of the last year article (here and there) about new year events, quick !!

* At Taiyuji Temple, you can strike the bell and receive talisman (only for the 108 first ones). On the 31st at 0:00, it's free and it's here.

* At Minamimido Temple, avoid bad luck for next year by ringing the bell of the temple from 23:30 (only for the 108 first ones, but groups can ring the bell all together at once). The first 200 persons will also receive free soba noodles. It's free and it's here.

* At Aizendo Temple, avoid bad luck for next year by ringing the bell of the temple from 23:30 (only for the 108 first ones) and receive the Ema (sacred painting on a wooden tablet) of this temple. It's free and it's here.

* At Kanshinji Temple, receive a lucky charm made of Kaya to protect you all next year (only for the 600 first ones), and a sacred rice scoop (only for the 108 first ones). On the 31st, it's free and it's here.

* At Kitamido Temple, a count down with fireworks and music will start around 23:00. It's free and it's here.

* At Sky Building, big count down with light, sound, fireworks and ... 10.000 spectators expected !! From around 23:15. The 40th floor will be open too for few happy ones. It's free (except for the 40th floor, 700Y) and it's here.

* At Shitennoji Temple, avoid bad luck for next year by ringing the bell of the temple from 23:30 (only for the 108 first ones) and drink Amazake (sweet sake, only for first 1.000 ones). It's free and it's here.

* At Dainenbutsuji Temple, avoid bad luck for next year by ringing the bell of the temple from 23:30 (only for the 108 first ones) and eat Zenzai and Mochi (sweet red beans soup and sticky ball of rice, only for the first 500 ones) . It's free and it's here.

* At Nozakikannon Temple, ring the bell from 23:00 (only for the 108 first ones) and eat orange and sweat sake, or receive charms. It's free and it's here.

* At Kongoji temple in Koyasan, receive a sacred rice scoop on the 31st and 1st.

* At Tenmangu Temple, drink the Gods' Sake from 0:00. It's free and it's here.

* On board of the Santa Maria sailboat, countdown and party. Departure at 23:45 for 45mn cruise, 2500 yen. More info here (in japanese)

* At Universal Studio Japan, enjoy a very special party from 19:00 to 2:00 with a count down of course and huge fireworks. The pass for this event cost 8.900 yen. Universal Studio official website -> here.

* At Mount Kongo, climb to the summit to see the first sunrise of the year. The ropeway will be exceptionnally open from 5:00 (1300 yen). Free Sake will be offer to the first 200 ones, and free Zenzai to the first 1.000 ones. To go there : From Abenobashi st. to Shakudo St. and then to Gose st. by Kintetsu train (around 40mn, departure from Abenobashi st. at 3:36 arrival at Gose at 4:39), then 3km to the ropeway by foot, then 6mn by Ropeway (departure at 5:40), and finally 30mn of hiking to the top. The sun rises at around 7:05. As I went there last year I recommend you to read this article.

* All the most famous clubs and bars of Osaka will hold their own Countdown party of course, refer to the Kansai Scene Website for more details about clubs and lives.

Inside Osaka, be aware that everything will be crowded. If you hope to ring the bell or receive some of the free foods, go there early and with enough patience to stay in the queue for few hours in the chilly night ! To ring the bell you usually need to get a ticket which are distributed few hours before the start of the ringing. Buy tickets to events as soon as possible !

And remember that :

* The Aquarium of Osaka stay opened.
* The Castle is closed from the 28th to the 2nd.
* Universal Studio Japan stay opened.
* Tennoji zoo is closed from the 29th to the 1st.
* The Tourist Information Centers stay opened.
* The Umeda Sky Building is exceptionnaly opened from 5:00 in the morning on the first if you want to see the first sunrise of the year.
* Namba Parks is closed on the 1st.
* National Museum of Art is closed from the 14th of December to the 15th of January
* Municipal Museum of Art is closed from the 29th to the 3th
* The Tsutenkaku Tower stays opened.
* Most of the restaurants are closed. It's better going to chains like (near J-Hoppers Osaka) Machikadouya, Yoshinoya, Cocoichiban, ... (Traditionnally Japanese eat at home a dish called Osechi, cooked or ordered in advance)
* Convenient stores stay opened.
* Department stores around Osaka Station : HEP Five is closed from the 31st to the 1st, Hankyu Dept Store is closed on the 1st, Hanshin Dept Store is closed on the 1st, Yodobashi Camera stay opened, ...
* Transportations keep running, but with lower frequency.

All the J-Hoppers Osaka staff wish the best ever New Year Day !!!

Dec 21, 2009

Funny event in Osaka

Some japanese rituals may looks quite strange for foreigners eyes ... That's probably the best ones to look for during your trip in Japan. Then, don't miss the Shimenawa Shinji ! It takes place at Hiraoka shrine on the 25th of December. From Tsuruhashi St. (on the Osaka loop line) take the Kintetsu Nara Line anbd get off at Hiraoka St. (440 yen, 20mn). After repalcing the sacred rope that mark the border between dirty world and pure shrine, priests will laugh loudly to scare the devils ! Don't hesitate to laugh with them for your own fortune ;-)

Dec 19, 2009

Let's go to see Penguin Parade!

Penguin Parade at Kaiyukan, The Osaka Aquarium

The King Penguins appear and march in the forecourt of the aquarium.

Date : December 18th, 2009 to January 8th, 2010 (Every Day)
January 9th, 2010 to February 7th, 2010 (Only on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays
Time : 11:30-/13:30-/15:30- (for 20 minutes)
Venue : Event Plaza in front of the Kaiyukan Building
Admission Fee : Free

Dec 10, 2009


Are you ready for Christmas??
Here in Osaka,there are a lot of illuminations events in this month and we'd like to show some of them today.

*Sky building
-There is the HUGE Christmas tree just under the building!
They are also having German Christmas market.

*Renaissance of Light in Osaka
-only 10 minutes walk from J-Hoppers Osaka


*Universal Studios Japan Wonder Christmas

*Illumination Cruise Service

*WTC Chrismas Illumination

The last one is not in Osaka, it's in Kobe.
But it's very famous and big event in this season!
*Kobe Luminarie*
This event is requiem of Great Hanshin earthqueke.

So, get your warm clothes and go to the town!!

Dec 5, 2009

Christmas Party on the 23rd !

We are having Christmas Party at J-Hoppers Osaka on the 23rd of December!
It's not Christmas yet? Don't care !
We will try to cook NEW menu and it will be the first time for us ..
Keep your fingers crossed for us, though it should not be difficult !

Also, please tell us if you have any nice ideas/menu which make our party much more fun.

We see you then!

Dec 4, 2009

We've just been ranked by Hostelworld customers as the 10th best hostel in all Asia for November 2009 !!
Shall we bless our manager Ken who looks like the famous baseball outfielder Ichiro as like as two peas in a pod ? Shall we bless our saint Noriko who brings us enlighted peace from each of her pilgrimage ? Shall we bless our cute Sawako and her gorgeous brush paintings gallery ? Shall we bless our crazy Pascal and his frightening french humour ? Or maybe that's thank to the almost world famous magical 999 show of Mister Yano ?
Anyway we'll keep on working hard to provide you the best quality of service and the most enjoyable stay in our guesthouse !

Dec 2, 2009

Let's go to Minoo !

Minoo is a small village in the mountain north from Osaka. It's very easy access as you can get there by Hankyu train from Umeda Station in less than 30mn. Take the Takarazuka line and change at Ishibashi Station for the Minoo line, 260 yen. If you're looking for some green while you're staying at Osaka that's the perfect location ! An easy walk along the river will lead you to a big waterfall. Those who would enjoy more walking can also escape in the mountain thanks to many hiking courses. In the small village don't forget to buy some chestnuts, and the local speciality : fried maple leaves. Take care to your bags as monkeys are numerous and try to steal all what they see.

This old house is now a cafe which serves delicious cakes !

Of course there are some temples on the way.

Happy monkey stole an orange. Don't try to give them food, you'll get a fine of 10.000 yen !

Old bridge over the river.

So many differents greens, reds and yellows !

The Minoo waterfall.

Gorgeous !

Nov 29, 2009

Illumination Fantasy at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Oct.30th 2009 - Feb.21st 2010
(except for Jan.12th, 13th, 14th, Feb.4th and 5th)

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
1-1-10 Kaigandori,Minato-ku,OsakaCity

For more informations, access to:

Nov 20, 2009

Shinno Matsuri

On the 22nd and 23rd of November, from 9am, will be held a very important festival in Osaka : the Shinno Matsuri. The small Sukunahikona shrine (少彦名神社) will be crowded with people coming to celebrate the free distribution of medicines during a plague of cholera in 1822. This shrine is also known as Shrine of the Health and Medicine Gods. Don't forget to buy the little paper tiger, as a charm to protect you from diseases !

To go there : Get off at the Kitahama subway station and walk down the avenue for few minutes toward south (google map).

Nov 3, 2009

Rare occasion to enjoy japanese old culture in Osaka

It's called Tanada Yume Akari and will took place in Chihaya Akasakamura Omori, Osaka on the Nov 7
The rice terraces have been kept since the 14th century in this village, and on this day they will be illuminated with 2,000 candles. Fee rice balls, zenzai (sweet dessert) and pork soup offered to the first 300 people accepted!
Time: 5pm-8pm (postponed until Nov 8 in case of rain).
Getting there: Kintetsu Railway Osaka line, Tondabayashi stn, bus to Chihaya-akasaka Chugakuko-mae.
Admission: free
Tel: 0721-72-1447.

Oct 25, 2009

Chrysanthemum exhibition at Osaka Castle

Exhibition of Chrysanthemum in the park of Osaka Castle, until the 15th of November. Free !

Oct 22, 2009

Concert in Osaka

The group Buck Tick will be on concert at Zepp Osaka on the 24th of October, from 18:00, 6300 yen.

Oct 11, 2009

Concert in Osaka

FREE concerts in Osaka
on the 12th of October, from 12:00 to 19:00
at ATC, in front of the subway station "Tradecenter-mae"

Oct 4, 2009

Concert in Osaka

The British singer-songwriter Steve Appleton will perform at Club Quattro on the 5th of October, at 19:00.
5.500Y, Tel. 06-6281-8181

Oct 3, 2009

Events in Osaka

Shinto treasures of Ise Shrine
until the 9th of November at Osaka Museum of History
9:30 - 16:30

Evening of Traditional Osaka Performing Arts at Yamamoto Noh Theater
Comic storytelling, geisha games, puppet theater. You can even participate !
English subtitles provided
17th of October 19:00 - 20:45
4500Y / 4000Y / 3500Y with steamed rice and japanese tea
Reservation : 06-6943-9454

Sep 15, 2009


Aqua Metropolis Osaka 2009(Suito Osaka) has been holding till the 12th of October, in Nakanoshima area, it's about 10 minutes walk from J-Hoppers Osaka.

Osaka is known as "water metropolis" because many rivers running through.
Also,Osaka has square-shaped "corridors" formed by five rivers. It is very rare in Japan, or even around the world, that such corridors of rivers exist in an urban center.
Centering on the Water Corridors, various development projects and revitalization projects utilizing the riverfronts are now underway. This is an ongoing project to redevelop Nakanoshima Park- a historical and cultural center of Osaka located at the top of the Water Corridor-as a water-oriented park, as well as a project to redevelop Hachikenya-hama as a terminal for river and land transportation.

It has many kinds events, arts, morning market, cafe,walking tour,illuminations..
They update every week and please check the website for more details:

Aug 5, 2009

Neighbour Map for J-Hoppers Osaka renewal !!

To view on a bigger PDF file, click HERE.

We J-Hoppers Osaka have just revised our neighbour map.
We added lots of useful information. As we are located in the central city of Osaka, there are tons of restaurants or bars near here.

Hope it works for your wandering Osaka and enjoy a Osakan food!

Jul 27, 2009

Japanese Baseball Game

I went to Koshien Baseball Stadium to see Hanshin Tigers game.
Since I live in near this stadium, I have a opportunity to see it very often and I can hear the fans shouting with pleasure at my house.

The crazy fans standing by me was shouting in a hoarse voice all the time. Their hoot is quite funny.
I would say that some of Osakan slangs is the most rude word in Japan. It sounds like they are picking a fight with a player. I always doubt that they really like Tigers.

There are several conventions and rules of Tigers fan.

1.At the bottom of 7th inning, all the Tigers fans release a balloon.
2.If Tigers wins, fans sing a team song "Rokko Oroshi"
3.When Tigers grabs for the chance, fans stand up and start the standing dance.

Remember Tigers is one of the most popular team of all professional baseball teams.
It could be difficult for you to get a ticket at the weekend. Even though weekday the possibility to get one is not high.

It takes about 30 min from J-Hoppers Osaka. If you have any question, or want me to help to buy a ticket, just ask me at J-Hoppers Osaka.

You can buy these Tigers goods at Tiger shop by the stadium.

P.S. I appreciate J-Hoppers Staff Shogo for giving a ticket.

Apr 14, 2009

Let's go to Ise !

I went recently to Ise city (伊勢市)(google location) in Mie Prefecture with my girlfriend. Have you ever heard about it ? This is a very small city but a very important one in japanese history. There is the Ise Grand Shrine where Amaterasu Omikami is worshipped. Amaterasu is the God of Sun, bornt from the left eye of Izanagi, the male God who created Japan Islands with his heavenly spear (read all about this here). From Amaterasu all the Japanese people are descendants. No need to say that's the most sacred shrine of all Japan !

View from the train of rural scene

There is actually two main shrines : the inner one and the outer one. To them are attached 123 others minor ones. The two main shrines are accessible only to the Imperial family and you won't be able to approach nearer than the fourth wooden fence. Minor shrines are accessible though, and the woods around them are gorgeous.

The main shrines are completely rebuilt every 20 years, to symbolize nature cycle and keep this sacred place in perfect state. The next one will be held in 2013. It should be something huge to see ! Until then, leading up events also occur, as collecting huge wooden logs which are used for the reconstruction.

Roof of the inner shrine

In the woods of the outer shrine

Shrine of the God of Wind within the precincts of the outer shrine

Priest at the outer shrine

The queue to pray at the outer shrine

Near the Inner shrine a old shopping street offers full of restaurants to eat the local specialties : the Ise shrimp, and the Ise udon. I tried the second one, it was very good ! I also taste several seafoods directly fished in the vicinity. Mmmmmhh !! But there is not only restaurants. Of course a lot of souvenir shops, and more interesting : very very old buildings.

Fried squid shop

Fishes drying at the sun

Ise udon

Sacred decoration at the entrance of a shop

Old traditional building

Old wooden statue

We also went there to see the Aquarium of Toba (鳥羽市). By bus you can reach Toba in 15 min. from Ise. There is a one day pass (1000 yen) and a two day pass (1600 yen) bringing you to every interesting places of the area. Don't forget to buy it at the tourist information center of Ise (in front of the outer shrine), it will give you reduction on others attractions. The aquarium is mid-sized with several rooms in a range. Each one has a main big aquarium on one side and smaller ones on the two other sides. Windows are quite big, and dugongs and manatees are some of the rare species you can observe here (I LOVE the leafy seadragon). There is also several performances with animals : the classic sea-lions, or more unusually walrus ! Several "view from below" are also available, and always impressive. A small restaurant allow you to take a break if you spend long time there. Also on the lower floor a shell museum, with a large collection of splendid shells from all over the world, is not to be missed, as unfortunately do lot of people due to the "out of the regular course" location.

Leafy seadragon

Performance with a walrus

Finless porpoises

Not yet fried squid ;-)


scorpion fish


Another recommendable place in Toba is the Pearl Town on a island in front of the city. You can learn here everything about production of pearls, and of course buy jewelry. You can also see the women diving to collect them. Unfortunately for us we haven't see anything of this as the weather was very bad and we preferred to stay all the day in the aquarium.

Between these two cities another attraction is the Meotoiwa rocks. That's two rocks in the sea linked by a sacred rope. They are symbolizing husband and wife, and their union. Around them few others smaller rocks excited the imagination of local people who tried to find in their shapes some animals or whatever. As one of them is supposed to look like a bullfrog, little statue of this animal started to appear on the seaside, and now it's a real crowd of bullfrog looking at the sea ! Even the fountain to wash your hands before praying at the shrine is shaped like a giant bullfrog.

the meotoiwa rocks

At Ise, we stayed in a traditional ryokan : the Hoshidekan (星出館, staff can speak very few words of english then if you don't speak japanese I recommend to book online). I've already stayed once in a ryokan but it was a 'modern' one. The Hoshidekan exists since years ago, and it is absolutely gorgeous. All made of wood, tatami, sliding paper doors. In the middle, a little garden with greeneries, rocks, a well and a pine (this kind of garden is called a tsuboniwa). Running around it, on the second floor, an alley, one third closed by windows, one third opened on the garden, and one third as a little bridge over the garden linking rooms to a bathroom. Bathrooms are large stalls with ceramics. Tooth brush and tooth paste are provided for free, as well as yukata and linen in the room, and towels in the bathroom. Toilets are half old style and half modern style. The room was perfect : 7.5 tatami sized, with a balcony, an alcove enhanced by ink painting and flower arrangement, two thick futons, tv, phone, tea, cookies, shogi board (I would have preferred Igo though ;-) ). Everything is old but perfectly clean. Before going to bed we also could enjoyed a japanese traditional bath (shared but used privately).

the inner garden

little patio


in our room

You can have a meal at the ryokan but we preferred to eat outside. It has been a very bad idea ! At 17:00 everything close and the city look like it's dead ! We walked so long to try to find something open ... The only restaurants we found, on a saturday night, was an italian one, which was full, and two cafe with light meal menu. We ended up with a lunch box in our room ! Gladly, for the next morning we had ordered the breakfast. It's given in a large room on the first floor. Fish, Sea weeds, eggs, vegetable and of course rice and tea. Cooked by two very busy grand'ma in the kitchen just behind, it's very very good.

Before coming back home we wanted to buy some omiyage of course. We almost never could ... Everything was already closed in the 'downtown' of Ise. Under the rain it somehow looked like a ghost city ! I also run out of money and couldn't find anywhere to withdraw. A bank ATM who was accessible and accepted one of the card of my girlfriend finally saved us. And we could buy some foods in the *only* one shop opened in the main street. At least, wandering made us discovered several others ryokan in the city, all more beautiful and older than the other. Next time I go to Ise, I want to try the Yamadakan (山田舘). From the outside it's out of words. Probably run by Chihiro herself ;-)

old house in Ise city

From Osaka you can go to Ise with the Kintetsu Ltd Express, from Tsuruhashi station on the loop line to Ise main station. There is two trains per hour (timetable). It takes 1h40mn and costs 3030 yen. So you can even think about doing it as a one day trip from J-Hoppers Osaka.