“Beautiful gardens with a strange history”
The view from the ruined Donjon in the Imperial Palace East Gardens is the old Edo Castle Honmaru Goten Palace. Now just a large lawn full of people sleeping and enjoying the sunshine. Formally, this area was lined with buildings. Presumably these too were burnt down during the Great Fire of Meireki; a fire that is considered to be one of the worst disasters in Japanese history. A fire that left the old Edo city, now known as Tokyo, in complete ruin.
The fire was said to be caused by a priest. According to legend, there was a cursed kimono that killed teenage girls, and the priest decided to burn it on that day in March 1657. It didn’t help that the buildings of that time were made from flammable materials such as wood, were built closely together, and had thin paper walls. The fire spread to all parts of Tokyo, leaving destruction and devastation in its wake.
From the ruined Donjon, there is barely a trace left of the fire. All that remains is the site of an old castle now replaced by a neatly cut lawn, an orchard of lemon trees, and the overly developed city skyline looming in the distance.