Day 17, Oct 31: from The Earth (Toba) to Kyoto
Weather: It’s Halloween and Saturday, is that an orange moon and a horde of hobgoblins THB sees? Crows with two legs? Three?
Oh, and the weather: low 60s dropping to the 50s at night, maybe even the high 40s. THB puts on his cashmere hoodie, there’s a real chill in the air (and it feels great).
THB doesn’t rouse until after the colors in the sky have changed at sunrise.
There’s time before breakfast for one last open air soak. The Japanese breakfast is as yesterday: excellent.
It takes two shuttles to get us to the train station; THB and DB remember it from last time and know not to get anxious, they’ll get us to the station in time for the 10:35 train.
At the Toba station THB buys a few meat filled bao and two rice balls for our on-the-train lunch. $17 and we split three ways.
The Earth has purchased train tickets through to Kyoto for THB and DB, $35 each, and part way for M, who stays on the train while THB and DB get off to transfer. Parting is such sweet sorrow, it’s been 10 big and long days together on the Kumano Kodo and then easing back into real life at The Earth. For THB and DB, it was around $350pp per day which includes two great meals and all the soaking you can do. Drinks came to around $20 with dinner each night and they comped our Dragon Nests and shoju tasting!
We arrive in Kyoto at the main train station around 1:20. As we are exiting who do we run into but our dinner partners, B&P from the KK hike. Totally random, we hadn’t finalized plans, just started exchanging e-mails. There must be 5-10,000 people in the station, so running into each other in front of the station is very bizarre.
We cab to the Ritz Carlton (big splurge stay on the trip), $11. The room is gorgeous!
After consulting with the concierge, DB has a gallery walk plotted out and we go off chasing art for 2 hours; no art of note to report except for work in the RC lobby.
|Could be Ken Mihara (we own a piece of his, THB will post a pic of it if this piece in lobby is his)|
Drinks at the Ritz and dinner at Katsukura with B&P, a nice catch-up after all the days on the Kumano Kodo together. Katsukura is a tonkatsu: they serve primarily breaded and fried pork cutlets, priced by quality and quantity. THB and DB eat here every time we’re in Kyoto. It gets a very mixed clientele, lots of locals and some foreigners. The staff doesn’t speak a lot of English. The pork comes with all you can eat cabbage, rice and miso. Dinner for two with beer and sake: $40.
THB and P have very small ice creams as we stroll the streets: $2 each
The streets of Kyoto near the restaurant are bubbling over with the 17 to 30 age bracket, plus some are in Halloween costumes. We drop B&P off at the subway and we’re back in our room by around 9, ready to rest up for tomorrow.