Facing Nijo Castle's southern wall, this touristy restaurant is within the only remaining garden from the original Imperial Palace. The 1,200-year-old Sacred Spring Garden dates from 794, when the Emperor Kammu established Kyoto as the nation's capital. The charming shrine, placid pond, and vermilion bridge are essentially all that remain. You can dine looking out at the pond, or, if seating is available, on a boat floating leisurely in the middle of it. Enjoy ultrathick
udon noodle hot pot while listening to taiko drummers perform. Lunch courses beginning at ¥3,800 are a better deal than the ¥8,400-and-up dinners. There are not as many à la carte options, but single items start at a more affordable ¥800.