6 – The Ruined Castle

“The glory of three generations of the Fujiwara passed as if in a dream. Their Great Gate lies in
ruins, two miles this side of the castle. The land where Hidehira’s mansion stood has now
returned to paddy fields. Only Mount Kinkeizan (Gold Cockrel Mountain) looks the same as in
the past. We climbed up Takadachi (Palace on the Heights) first. From there, we could see the
Kitakami, a mighty river that flows down from Nanbu, and also the Koromo, a river that circles
round Izumi Castle before it empties into the big river below Takadachi. Yasuhira’s castle stands
beyond the Koromo Barrier, seemingly to protect the Nanbu gateway from invasion by the Ainu.
There at Takadachi, Yoshitsune and a chosen band of loyal men tried to entrench themselves –
but their heroic actions turned in the twinkling of an eye to nothing more than clumps of grass.”