When the great haiku poet Matsuo Basho came upon the empty fields that centuries earlier had been the city of a mighty warrior clan, he was moved to tears. He composed this poem:
All that remains
Of warrior's dreams
I often think of Basho's poem when strolling through this part of the Kyoto Imperial Palace grounds. This pond and bridge once formed the garden of the Konoe family (近衛家), who for nearly a thousand years were at the pinnacle of power within the Emperor's court. Now, however, their villa has utterly disappeared. All that remains are the hints of their once-magnificent garden: the pond, the stone bridge and dozens of descendents of the weeping cherry trees scattered throughout their grounds, a tree they loved so much that their villa was affectionately known as the Sakura Gosho (桜御所), the Cherry Blossom Palace.