Princess Aiko, the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, who is now a fourth-grader at Gakushuin Primary School in Tokyo, turned 10 on Thursday.
The princess, who expressed anxiety last year about going to school, has made the short commute to the school from the family’s residence in the Motoakasaka district alone and attended classes from the first period of the day over the past two months, according to the Imperial Household Agency.
The 47-year-old Crown Princess had previously accompanied Princess Aiko to school or joined her in the classroom, but the Crown Princess is accompanying her daughter home from school less frequently now, according to the agency.
Princess Aiko took part in her first school sleepover outing in September, staying in the lakeside village of Yamanakako in Yamanashi Prefecture for two nights with roughly 120 schoolmates. Crown Princess Masako accompanied her on the trip at her request, according to the agency.
The little princess, who sometimes has meals with her mother in a school guest room, dined with her classmates during the trip, prompting a source to say the experience “has apparently given her courage in leading her school life.”
Before Crown Prince Naruhito, 51, went to see the 77-year-old Emperor Akihito, who had been hospitalized with bronchial pneumonia, on Nov. 18, Princess Aiko nipped some flowers at their residence in the Akasaka Estate and gave them to her father so he could deliver them to the Emperor, according to the agency.
At school, Princess Aiko plays the cello as a member of the school orchestra she joined last summer. She has also begun learning English and engaged in elementary-level conversations.
The princess has taken an interest in playing cards using “Hyakunin isshu,” a collection of ancient “waka” poems, with her parents sometimes engaging in the activity with her, according to the agency.