Our last day in Kyoto, and the day of the surprise! We gave the 24 hour noodle place next door to our hotel a try for breakfast – a classic U-shaped cafe with a basic cheap breakfast for folks on their way to work. Then we got our things all packed up and checked out from the hotel before catching a train up to Koto-In temple in northern Kyoto.
Because we haven’t done a good job with our research, and our guidebook is pretty out of date, we weren’t aware that Koto-In is actually closed for seismic renovations. But, we still had an enjoyable morning puttering around the grounds and peeking over walls. A few smaller temples in the area are open as well. As we were getting ready to head out, we noticed a small red arrow pointing down a path. Following the path through twists and bends, we emerged in a small garden at what turns out to be a restaurant doing Kyoto-style vegetarian Japanese set menu lunches and dinners. They weren’t quite open yet, but we stalled a bit and then sat down for lunch.
We had the garden to ourselves, and were brought dish after dish. Some highlights: the world’s juiciest cherry, dipped in tempura batter and fried, a roasted eggplant covered in a magical sauce, silken tofu, soba noodle sushis, and so much more. We had an incredibly wonderful hour peacefully snacking.
After lunch, it was time to head for Tokyo. We grabbed our bags from the hotel and hopped the bullet train. We both worked along the way, and Kat made a friend with her seat mate.
After dropping our bags at our hotel in the Shinjuku district, we headed over to the planned spot for the birthday surprise. We were able to have a small private room at a neighborhood izakaya restaurant, where we waited. A very jet lagged Huxley nearly threw a wrench in the works, but Rebecca was able to will things forward and get Mike into the restaurant.
And a surprise it was indeed. As is the way with small children, Huxley thought this was all perfectly normal. Of course Kat and Colin are here. Want to play with play dough?