Shinsenen is the oldest existing garden in Kyoto and dates back to the Heian period 794-1185. This pond garden was made in an area that was marshy. Shinsenen’s site was originally six times larger than its present state. In Chinese characters the pond was called “God’s Fountain,” because very fresh and pure water always welled up from the pond. Also it is said that noblemen enjoyed rowing in the pond or hunting on the garden’s grounds during the Heian era. Adjacent to the pond garden Heihachi Restaurant is famous for serving the thickest noodles in Japan - it has a dragon headed stationary boat on the pond that is mostly disused and merely a decoration in the pond. There is a red bridge called Hojyo Bridge where wishes came true as you cross the bridge thinking about it and pray at Zennyo Ryuou Shrine on the opposite shore.