• Kyodo

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Emperor Akihito and Spanish King Felipe VI on Friday had an occasion to look back on the history of the two countries’ exchanges by observing a historical Western clock presented by then-King Felipe III to the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in the 1600s at a traditional Japanese building in Shizuoka.

As part of a visit marking next year’s 150th anniversary of bilateral relations between the countries, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia traveled to the city with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko by shinkansen from Tokyo.

“This is very significant as a symbol of friendship between Japan and Spain,” Felipe VI said after observing the clock at Fugetsuro, a Japanese restaurant and reception hall built at the site of a former residence of Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the 15th and last shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate founded by Ieyasu.

The Spanish king is visiting Japan for the first time since he ascended the throne in 2014.

The Emperor was also keen to learn about the clock, asking questions of the chief priest of Kuno-zan Toshogu Shrine, where the clock is usually kept.

The clock, now designated as a national important cultural property in Japan, was given as a token of gratitude by Felipe III after Tokugawa Ieyasu welcomed Spanish sailors who were rescued after their ship was wrecked off Chiba Prefecture, and built a new ship for them to go home.

The royal couple and the Imperial Couple also visited the Shizuoka prefectural earthquake disaster prevention center and took in a demonstration explaining the mechanism of tsunami.

It is customary for the Imperial Couple to go together on a domestic trip with foreign royals who are visiting as state guests.

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