An imperial procession: getting a glimpse of the imperial couple

Tens of thousands of people are expected to line the streets of Tokyo this weekend to catch a glimpse of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. The couple will be part of a motorcade winding through the city center to mark the Emperor's accession.

Sunday's parade, called the "Shukuga-Onretsu-no-gi," was originally scheduled for immediately after the enthronement ceremony on October 22. But when the deadly Typhoon Hagibis swept across the country, causing extensive damage, the government decided to postpone the event.


At 3 p.m. this Sunday, 46 vehicles will form a motorcade stretching nearly half a kilometer.
Police motorcycles will lead the way, with the Prime Minister and Chief Cabinet Secretary behind them. The Emperor and Empress will be following in an open-top limousine, designed specifically for the occasion.

The Imperial couple's custom-made limousine

The limousine will be emblazoned with the Imperial family's chrysanthemum emblem and flag. If it rains, the couple will ride in the car they normally use for important events.
Behind them will be a vehicle carrying Crown Prince and Princess Akishino.


The procession will follow a 4.6 kilometer route from the Imperial Palace to the Akasaka residence, where the couple are living temporarily. The route is almost identical to the one followed in 1990 when the previous Emperor took the throne.

Musicians from the Imperial Household Agency will begin proceedings with music at the Imperial Palace. Along the route, bands from the Self Defense Forces and local fire departments will be performing. And when the couple arrive at their residence, a band from the Imperial Guard will play.

How to watch

The last time Japan held a parade to mark an Imperial accession, about 117,000 people came out to watch.
Police are anticipating a large turnout this weekend, too, and are advising people to arrive early.

The procession in 1990 for the then Emperor and Empress

Spectators will have to pass through security checks to enter the viewing areas. They won't be allowed to carry lighters, knives, drones or banners. Large luggage and selfie sticks are also banned. Spectators will be instructed not to yell, play music, carry someone on their shoulders or run onto the parade route.

People who live or work along the route have been asked not to watch or take photographs from their rooftops or balconies. They've also been instructed not to hang laundry or place flower pots on their balconies, to ensure nothing falls onto spectators or the parade.


Some roads in central Tokyo will be closed from morning to evening, and congestion is expected elsewhere.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police has issued a map of the restrictions.

Subway stations near the route will close some of their access points. Entrance may be restricted to Aoyama Itchome, Nagatacho, Akasaka-mitsuke and Sakuradamon stations.

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