Earlier today Japan’s Emperor Akihito began a series of ceremonies to begin his abdication on 30 April.
The first ceremonies were held on Tuesday at the three Imperial sanctuaries on the palace grounds in Tokyo.
Dressed in an ancient court costume, The Emperor first visited the main sanctuary, Kashikodokoro. There he bowed and read out an ancient-worded script to proclaim his abdication date to the Imperial ancestor Amaterasu-Omikami, the sun goddess, who is enshrined there.
Later, he visited two other sanctuaries, Koreiden and Shinden, dedicated to the souls of Imperial ancestors and several Japanese deities.
The prime minister and the heads of the legislative and judicial branches did not attend Tuesday’s rituals as would be the case for enthronement.
Emperor Akihito will announce his abdication at the Mausoleum of Emperor Jinmu in Nara Prefecture. He will also visit the Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture and the Mausoleum of his father, the late Emperor Showa, in suburban Tokyo.