LYON, FRANCE - Crown Prince Naruhito arrived in the southeastern French city of Lyon on Friday for his first official visit to France to commemorate the 160th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the countries.
During the nine-day trip, he plans to meet French President Emmanuel Macron and attend a Japan-themed cultural event. It is expected to be his last foreign trip as crown prince as he is set to ascend the throne after Emperor Akihito abdicates next April 30.
France invited the 58-year-old Crown Prince and Crown Princess Masako, but she did not accompany him as the Imperial Household Agency took heed of her health condition.
After visiting a textile museum and other locations in Lyon, he will travel to Paris where he will meet Macron at the Palace of Versailles on Wednesday.
He will also attend the Japonismes 2018 event in Paris and watch a Kabuki performance, as well as taking part in a ceremony to light up the Eiffel Tower.
Prior to this trip, he traveled to France when he was studying at Oxford University in Britain in the 1980s.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited France as a state guest in 1994.