The Emperor and the Empress began a three-day pilgrimage to the Ise Grand Shrine, the holiest place in the Shinto religion in Japan, as part of a series of rituals for his abdication this month.
This is his last trip as emperor and empress to the central shrine of Japan, dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami, mythical ancestor of the emperor.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who accompanied US President Barack Obama and other leaders of the Group of Seven to the shrine during the G7 summit at 2016, saw the Emperor and Empress at a Tokyo train station.
The royal couple is traveling with a legendary sword and a jewel, wrapped in black boxes and carried by chambermaids. The two items, next to an ancient mirror, are known as the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan and symbols of the imperial throne.
Source: Yomiuri Shimbun | Reuters