June 30 was Linc’s 11th birthday! We took the high speed train to Kyoto that day and checked into a beautiful hotel with an amazing restaurant. The kids enjoyed a little pool time, and we headed to the restaurant for the celebratory dinner. On the way we ran into a Geisha! The hotel has a Geisha perform nightly at 6pm. We missed the performance the first night but did go back to see it later in our stay. It was really interesting! We did get a pic with the Geisha the first night- probably the only photo of all 10 of us!

Lincoln’s birthday dinner was fun- he of course ate steak. He insists he looks “derpy” in this photo, and while I agree, its the only one I have of him that night.

The next day we set out for Arashiyama, an area of Kyoto. First stop: the Bamboo Forest. This is the kids at the beginning of the day, all refreshed and unaware of the coming heat and humidity that would suck the life out of them over the next 4 hours!

Our walk through the forest led us to the Tenryu-ji Temple. It was truly beautiful. The gardens have survived in their original form since the it was built (1339-1345)! The buildings have been destroyed and rebuilt a few times over the years, the ones we were able to tour date from the late 1800s. I am going to subject you to some scenes of the garden because they are just too good not to….

Here are the kids hanging out in the shade of the buildings- looks like they are discussing life’s big questions ..

With a little luck and a great concierge, we found a dinner spot that had room for 10. This private room was really fun. The kids loved taking their shoes off and sitting on the floor. It was a great Japanese dining experience!

We had to take 3 cabs everywhere we went- this is what happened to the passengers of the first cab when waiting in the lobby for the second and third cab to arrive! LOL. They had a good day.

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