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 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

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.