Yesterday (December 23) was the Emperor’s birthday. The Imperial family makes public appearances on the Emperor’s birthday and New Year. Only on these special days visitors are allowed to enter the main palace buildings and inner gardens.
They made 3 appearances. I (and my Thai friend) saw the second show.
All visitors were given Japanese flags. The people cheered waving the flags when the Imperial family appeared.
We saw the Emperor (Akihito), Empress (Michiko), crown prince (Naruhito) and crown princess (Masako), prince (Fumihito) and princess (Kiko) – quite clearly, not much far.
The emperor gave a short speech in his strong voice and people hailed. Quite a short but impressive show 🙂