The origin of the name “MorinoKi”

The name of our hostel is “The Otarunai Backpackers’ Hostel MorinoKi”.

  • “Otarunai” is the Ainu language “Ota-ur-nai (river in the beach)”. The name in OTARU originated from this word.
  • “Backpacker” is a free and independent traveller. Our hostel is for backpackers.
  • “MorinoKi” (mori-no- ki) means a tree (ki) in (no) a forest (mori). There is a shrine called “Suitengu” near MorinoKi. I think… “a long, long time ago, this place used to be a sacred forest.” So, this house is like a tree of this forest. Forests are made with plenty of trees. In the same way a town is made with many houses, shops and hotels. This hostel is one such tree (= house).

“The Otarunai Backpackers’ Hostel MorinoKi” was named with the wish of…

  • Afterimage of an Old North Port “OTARU”,
  • Adoration in traveling,
  • Encounter with travelers,
  • And more…

Keep on walkin’ since 1999

“The Otarunai Backpackers’ Hostel MorinoKi” was established on September 22, 1999 in Otaru. It is one of the oldest hotels in Hokkaido.
From 1995 to 1996, I have been traveling with my wife in New Zealand using working holidays visa. At that time, we often stayed at the Backpackers’ Hostel.
At first, I thought “There are not such like hostels in Japan”.
And then, I wished “I want hostels in Japan.”
At last, I decided “Okie Dokie! I’ll open my own Backpackers’ Hostel in Japan.”
After we came back to Japan, we found the old house in our home town “Otaru”. Then, we took about two years to renovate the old house, and opened “Backpackers’ Hostel” in 1999.
So, this hostel has a Japanese-style house and a New Zealand style system.
I’m still Backpacker and also host for travelers.


What’s Morinoki?

I doubt the wisdom of talking something like this at first, but…
Our Hostel is not like “Anybody regardless of age and gender are welcome!”
I am very sorry, I never recommend our hostel to “person to enjoy loneliness”, “a lovey-dovey couple” or “a group of drunk people”
Our Hostel is a budget guest house for free and independent travellers.
When you visit here, we might let you down. We have No cafe, No bar, No TV, No Onsen, No Air Conditioner, No pickup service, No barrier-free,No every night party event and No smoking.
Our hostel is an old house that has been standing for about 80 years. Some pillars are a little bit inclined, some doors are a little bit distorted, a little bit squeaking corridor, and more… You might feel history in them..
In winter, I think that you feel very cold in this hostel during winter because
it is a very old house though there is a heating facility in each room. Please acknowledge that. Instead we don’t have any extra charge of the heating bill in this hostel. And preliminary blankets and the hot-water bottles, etc. are prepared inthe hostel for you.
Summer of Hokkaido is sometimes very hot, but we don’t have any cooler in rooms. I think you can experience the four seasons of Hokkaido.
This is such like this hostel, but there are many good restaurants, cafes, IZAKAYA and bar around here. Also Otaru-Canal (river), Glass shops, Music-box museum and more famous sightseeing area are nearby. Moreover, our hostel have budget Dorm rooms with Bunk Beds, Free wi-fi, lots of Books & Movies, Self-catering Kitchen, Hot Shower & Bath, Laundry and Friendly Staff with Dog & Cat.
Feels Like Home.
Anyway, would you like to try visiting here?
It might be a boring hostel than you imagine.
OR
It might be a wonderful hostel than you imagine.
It’s up to you.
The impression of the travel is changed by the other travelers who then became together. Sometimes it might be fun, sometimes it might be awkward, sometimes it might be lonely, and it might be an unforgettable experience.
Let me tell you again, would you like to try visiting here?
And then, if you like Otaru or our hostel, please come back again whenever.

written by masa harada. “The Otarunai Backpackers’ Hostel MorinoKi” 2018 Spring


MorinoKi Staff

  • hug and momo (Dog & Cat)
    • hug and momo are hosts of guests or secret masters. They act big in the hostel. (usually lying)
    • hug: Pembroke Welsh Corgi, female, Born in the 2009.
      When entering and leaving the hostel, the dog often barks for welcome to you, but as soon she will calm down. She never gets bitten. Don’t fear, because she likes you.
    • momo: Japanese Bobtail Cat, female, Born in the 2009.
      For cat allergy guests, the cat is on a leash. But she doesn’t mind it.
    • If you are allergic to animals or dislike dogs and cats, please be forewarned.
    • Don’t feed dog and cat. Please do not play too much with them. (Especially after 10 p.m.)
    • momo & hug (Facebook)

  • whooper (MorinoKi Helper)
    • Sometimes we have exchange helpers in our hostel.
    • In WHOOP, the exchange of “Working” and “Stay” is not the aim. This most important aim is “Cultural Exchange. ” It is cultural exchange between the helper and the MorinoKi staffs, the helper and the traveler, helper and the local people.
    • about “whoop”
    • MorinoKi Helpers’ Blog