Tokyo, 1912. The closed world of the ancient aristocracy is being breached for the first time by outsiders - rich provincial families, a new and powerful political and social elite. Kiyoaki has been raised among the elegant Ayakura family - members of the waning aristocracy - but he is not one of them.
Coming of age, he is caught up in the tensions between old and new, and his feelings for the exquisite, spirited Satoko, observed from the sidelines by his devoted friend Honda. When Satoko is engaged to a royal prince, Kiyoaki realises the magnitude of his passion.