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Kayabukiya Tavern Trip Note

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Sydney, Australia
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367 posts
154 reviews
Kayabukiya Tavern Trip Note

We went to the Kayabukiya Tavern in Utsunomiya for our last night in Tokyo on 14th Sept. What a way to end our 2 week stay in Japan. We were staying in Shinjuku so took the local train there--not something I would recommend as it took forever with all the stops!! Use the JR Pass and go thru Tokyo station. Much quicker. Do call though and make a booking. I heard that it can be hard to get in so when we first arrived in Tokyo I had our hotel call and make the booking (2 weeks in advance) There were only 3 other couples there that night so we got quite good time with the owner, his wife and the monkey. The place isn't flash, rather like a quiet US tavern and quite small. We found the tables rather hard to sit at though as they were very low and you had to either put your legs straight out under the table or as we did end up with our back to the wall and our legs out straight along the side of the table. The monkey goes from table to table visiting but never without a command from his owner so you don't get pestered all the time. The highlight was the 3mo old baby monkey that we all got to "nurse" during the evening. She would just settle quite happily on your chest with her arms out. So cute. The owners don't speak a lot of english but luckily one of the ladies at the other table knew a bit of Japanese which made it easier to choose our dinner and to know what was going on. For dinner we had Utsunomiya deep fried dumplings which were delicious and Chicken, chilli and cabbage done on a tabletop BBQ--also quite good. Beer was the drink of choice. After we had all finished our meal we were called into the other room where there is a small stage and anothe monkey (the oldest one) was brought in for a show. It was a bit "cheesey" but cute none the less. The owner and the 2 monkeys have quite a routine worked out. I wasn't sure how long to give ourselves there when I booked our return train tickets but then decided to make it for 9pm and if we got back to the station earlier we could change. Well, with the dinner, show and general chat we were pushing it to get back in time. We shared a cab with a couple from Canada and got there just in time for our train. What a wonderful memory and one that I will remember for a long long time. It was the perfect ending to our time in Japan. Certainly different from temples and gardens!!! Note: Utsunomiya was a surprise to me. I was expecting a small village but it is quite a good sized town. It might be nice to go out a bit earlier and have a wander around the town before getting a cab to the tavern. You do not tip in Japan but at the tavern there is a jar where you can leave something for the upkeep of the monkeys. We all left 1000Yen. It was well worth it.

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