The main funeral service for Prince Katsura, a cousin of Emperor Akihito, was held Tuesday morning at a Tokyo cemetery following his recent death at the age of 66.

The ceremony, called the Renso no Gi rite, took place at Toshimagaoka Cemetery in Bunkyo Ward.

The prince's father, Prince Mikasa, a 98-year-old uncle of the Emperor, served as the chief mourner.

In line with custom, the Emperor and his wife, Empress Michiko, did not attend the funeral but sent messengers including the grand steward of the Imperial Household Agency.

The hearse carrying the prince's body departed from his home in the Akasaka district at about 9 a.m. for the journey to the cemetery, with a section of the route passing close to the Imperial Palace.

The prince's remains were cremated in the afternoon at a crematorium in Shinjuku Ward before his ashes were interred in a stone chamber next to the resting place of his older brother, Prince Tomohito, who died in 2012.

Prince Katsura, the second son of Prince Mikasa and the sixth in line to the throne, died on June 8 of acute heart failure.

He had been in and out of the hospital in recent years due to illnesses and possible infectious diseases.