After the failed extraction of information from Saito, Cobb claims that he's "getting off at Kyoto" and we later see him in a hotel room. He spins his totem--the top--to make sure he isn't dreaming, and then receives a call from his children.

How do they know where he's staying? As his father-in-law (Michael Caine) later says,

It'll take more than the occasional stuffed animal to convince these children they still have a father.

So we know he isn't in contact with them a lot. Additionally, he wouldn't want to risk making a call to the United States where he is still wanted for murdering his wife.

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    This guy can pull strings to make sure he has cotch (and safe!) digs to stay in - he checks out via a rooftop helicopter for starters! (which was supposed to be a private charter - remember he had no idea Saito was waiting for him up there) Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 6:14

2 Answers 2


It's never explained in the movie.

However, the movie shows Saito as being a very powerful and wealthy man as discussed here, so it would be easy for Saito to arrange for someone else to contact the father-in-law and give him Cobb's hotel number.

Unless the whole movie is a dream... But we'll never know that.


This is a scheduled telephone call. Clearly Cobb has given his mother-in-law his contact details (possibly via his father-in-law, Professor Miles, who's evidently still in contact with his ex-wife and Dom's children) and arranged to speak to his children at a specific time, hence why he's impatiently sat in his hotel room next to the telephone, checking his watch.


Cobb sits, waiting. Checks his watch, restless. He pulls a HANDGUN. Checks it is loaded. places it on the table in front of him. Pulls out a PEWTER SPINNING TOP, SPINS it on the table ... He INTENT STUDIES the top's spin... As he stares, the sound of a FREIGHT TRAIN builds and builds- the top WOBBLES, TIPS onto its side- the sound of the train STOPS. the PHONE RINGS- Cobb GRABS it-

CHILDREN'S VOICES (over phone): Hi, Daddy! Hi, Dad.

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