Japan’s Emperor Akihito and his wife, Empress Michiko have paid a visit to the tomb of Japan’s supposed first emperor, Jimmu. This visit is part of 11 ceremonies and rites that take place ahead of the 85-year-old Emperor’s abdication at the end of next month.
The visit took place on Tuesday when the imperial couple visited the Nara Prefecture’s mausoleum of the legendary Emperor Jimmu. There, they paid their respects to the man who ruled Japan from 660–585 BC.
The Emperor placed a sacred tree branch at the tomb and took a deep bow.
Unlike his first set of rites, His Imperial Majesty was in a morning suit and not traditional dress.
Emperor Akihito began these traditional rites on 12 March with visits to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo at the three imperial sanctuaries. The retiring Emperor wore an ancient court costume for his visits to Kashikodokoro, Koreiden and Shinden.
Two other visits are set to take place. The first is on 18 April where the Emperor will travel to the ancient Grand Shrines of Ise located in the Mie Prefecture. He will also visit the mausoleum in Tokyo of his father, Emperor Shōwa, on 23 April – just a few days before the abdication ceremony.
The Taiirei Seiden no Gi abdication ceremony will take place at 5:00 pm local time on 30 April. The Kenji to Shokei no Gi ceremony for the new Emperor will take place on 1 May at 10:30 am. At 11:10 am, the Sokuigo Choken no Gi ceremony will take place where Emperor Naruhito will meet representatives of the people for the first time in his new role.
Emperor Akihito will abdicate on 30 April, and his son, Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne the following day to become the next Emperor of Japan.
He will be the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in two centuries.