Emperor Akihito took the throne upon the death of his father, Emperor Shōwa, on 7 January 1989. Of course, Emperor Akihito’s reign comes to an end today with his abdication in favour of his elder son, Crown Prince Naruhito who will ascend the throne tomorrow.
Let’s take a look at Emperor Akihito’s reign in photos:
The enthronement ceremony in 1990.
The Emperor and Empress leaving for an 11 day trip in September 1991. They travelled to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Imperial Family of Japan in 1992.
Chinese President Yang Shangkun (L) and Emperor Akihito after the latter arrived in China 23 October 1992, to mark the 20th anniversary of Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations.
The Emperor and Empress bow on 23 April 1993 in Okinawa at a memorial for around 200 high school students and teachers who killed themselves during World War II while serving as medical assistants for the Japanese Imperial Army.
Pope John Paul II welcomes Akihito during a 1993 trip to Italy and the Vatican.
Ther Imperial Majesty’s at Blair House in Washington D.C. during a 1994 US trip.
The Emperor and Empress with President and First Lady Clinton.
The Emperor visits the devastation in Kobe after a January 1995 earthquake.
During a visit to Spain in 1996.
Their Imperial Majesties with Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg on a visit to Luxembourg in 1997.
The royals at the opening ceremony of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan.
Queen Elizabeth II, Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, The Duke of Edinburgh, and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother at the State Banquet Hall in Buckingham Palace for the 1998 state visit from Japan to the UK.
Emperor and Empress greet the thousands of supporters for the New Year in 1999.
Emperor Akihito and Dutch Queen Beatrix toast at the state banquet on 23 May 2000.
The Emperor greets children at the Mytyl school, a special education school for children with physical disabilities in Amsterdam in 2000.
Emperor Akihito gives a speech at the opening of the Japanese Diet (Parliament) in 2001.
In 2001, the Emperor and Empress welcomed King Harald and Queen Sonja to Japan.
That same year the Emperor and Empress attended the 56th Anniversary Of The End Of World War II in Tokyo.
In 2002, the Emperor and Empress arrive in Prague (above) and during their visit (below).
His Imperial Majesty welcomes President Hamid Karzai in 2003.
Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik of Denmark host an event in Japan for Their Imperial Majesties in 2004.
The couple marks the 10th anniversary of the Kobe quake in 2005.
They also welcomed King Syed Sirajuddin and Queen Fauziah of Malaysia on a state visit that same year.
They attend an annual garden party in April 2006 (above) and visited a nursery school later that year (below).
The Imperial Family pictured together in January 2007.
The Emperor celebrates the 100th anniversary of the US nonprofit organization Japan Society in 2008.
2009: They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with the Imperial Guard music band’s performance.
In 2010, the King of Cambodia was welcomed to Japan.
The following year a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko meet the evacuees from the 11 March earthquake and tsunami at Tokyo Budoh-kan.
The Emperor arrived at the University of Tokyo hospital in 2012 for heart bypass surgery.
Their Imperial Majesties take a stroll around the imperial villa in Hayama in 2013 while on a holiday.
For the first time in public in two decades, the Emperor and Empress dance in public together at a charity event in 2013.
The Imperial Family pictured at the beginning of 2014.
2015: The Duke of Cambridge travelled to Japan and met the Imperial Couple in Tokyo.
The couple bow at the altar for victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami at the national memorial service in 2015.
The Emperor and Empress visited the Philippines in 2016.
The Emperor announced his intent to abdicate in August 2016 in a televised address.
Emperor Akihito opens the Diet in 2017.
In the same year, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and his daughter, Princess Alexandra travelled to Japan for a visit and met Their Imperial Majesties.
The Japanese government began discussions for the abdication in January 2017.
King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden paid a visit to Japan in April 2018.
Emperor Akihito delivers a speech for his 85th birthday in December 2018.
New Year’s Day 2019: Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako bow to the Emperor and Empress.
The Emperor leaves the tomb of his father in January 2019.
In his last event outside the Imperial Palace ahead of his abdication, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attend an awards ceremony of the Midori Academic Prize last week.