The Imperial Palace, home of the Emperor of Japan, is located in central Tokyo. It is surrounded by a moat and in back of the Palace is a hill. Jefferson Heights was located on the top of the hill in back of the Imperial Palace. It was military dependent housing for military families serving in the Tokyo area. The apartments were two story and I believe they were duplexes. The upper floor consisted of the bedrooms and the lower floor was the living room, dining room and kitchen. There was nothing extraordinary about the homes, but what was extraordinary was the garden we played in.
In the back of the Imperial Palace there was a garden, the Princess Garden. It was originally part of the Imperial Palace but had been occupied by the military, and in the early 1950's it became a park for military dependents.
The Princess Garden wasn't far from our house. We walked a short block and entered the park area. The garden was terraced down the hill toward the Imperial Palace. There were lakes, lots of trees, beautiful flowers and the traditional red bridge crossing a stream. It was the most beautiful garden I have ever seen. Even today, fifty plus years later, I haven't seen such a lovely garden anywhere else.
Upon arrival to our new home, the garden was covered in snow. As the snow melted, cherry blossoms began to bloom. I would play in the Princess Gardens each day for the next few months. I knew all the paths, all the hiding places and the names of all of the flowers. And I felt like a Princess playing in such a beautiful environment.