Japan's new Emperor Naruhito has pilgrimaged to the opening of a ceremony for his accession to the holy shrines of his palace. In pouring rain, the 59-year-old monarch visited the shrines "Kashikodokoro", the "Koreiden" and the "Shinden" on Tuesday morning dressed in a light robe.
At this religious ceremony, the monarch informs the deities that in the afternoon he will announce the arrival of his regency to dignitaries from home and abroad. Naruhito had taken office on 1 May after his father's abdication.
At the religious ceremony in the morning, the monarch was accompanied by court officials who wore two of the throne insignia: a sword as well as crooked jewels, which according to legend was given to the imperial family by the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami. According to myths, Japan's emperors are the immediate descendants of the goddess. Nobody, not even the emperor, is allowed to look at the throne insignia, which are in protective covers.
The Emperor walked slowly to "Kashikodokoro", where the sun goddess is worshiped, bowed deeply and then went in to pray. Then he went to the other two shrines in a similar way.
Emperor Naruhito performs a ritual at the Imperial sanctuaries, a group of shrines in the palace. The Emperor visited the three Imperial sanctuaries, and reported to the Sun Goddess, the souls of his ancestors, and various deities that the enthronement ceremony would be held. pic.twitter.com/y4jiap4tgP- NHK WORLD News (@NHKWORLD_News) October 22, 2019
In the afternoon, the 126th Emperor of the world's oldest hereditary monarchy will perform a ceremony in the presence of around 2,000 dignitaries from all over the world to ascend the throne. During the 30-minute festive act called "Sokuirei Seiden no gi" (ceremony to enthrone the Emperor) in the palace, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the British Crown Prince Charles are expected.
An originally planned parade of the imperial couple in an open car across the capital was postponed to 10 November, out of consideration for the victims of a recent typhoon disaster. The month is followed by a final religious ceremony where Naruhito thanks his sun goddess for the new rice and offers her rice and sake. Then Naruhito is finally included in the series of emperors.