I still want to see
in blossoms at dawn the face
of the mountain god


The first Emperor Kammu moved his capital to this spot in 794 and called it Heian-kyo or “peaceful, tranquil capital.” It was later called Kyoto or “capital city.”

It is quite amazing to realize that this pond is all of what remains of Shinsen-en or “sacred spring garden.” This acre or two of the imperial garden has survived for over twelve centuries right in the heart of the city.

Kammu built his great palace here and attached a pleasure garden to the main enclose, stretching south into city for about thirty-three acres. There were pavilions over ponds for such pastimes as moon-viewing, fishing, and waterfall contemplation.  Other pavilions were for parties, dancing exhibitions, sumo matches, and poetry contests.