OSAKA – To commemorate the ascent to the throne by Emperor Naruhito, travel agency Hankyu Travel International Co. has started selling a tour which visits the mausoleums of all 124 deceased Japanese emperors.
The tour is split into 15 trips conducted over as many months until November 2020. The tour covers mausoleums scattered across eight prefectures, from that of Emperor Jinmu, the legendary first emperor, to that of Emperor Hirohito, posthumously called Emperor Showa, the grandfather of the current emperor.
According to Hankyu Travel, the tour product is the industry’s first that covers all imperial mausoleums.
Each trip will be held several times on different dates.
The first trip, conducted this month, took tourists to the Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun ancient tumulus clusters, which was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in July.
A sightseeing bus took visitors to six locations in the clusters in Osaka Prefecture, including the grave mound purportedly for Emperor Nintoku, also known as Daisen Kofun, the country’s largest keyhole-shaped tumulus.
A day trip to the clusters from Nagoya was priced at ¥8,900.
A trip to Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun on Sept. 13 drew some 80 tourists, mostly in their 50s to 70s.
“I am interested in history in general,” participant Fumio Nagamine, 68, said as he put his hands together in prayer before a tomb. “It’s my first visit to an imperial mausoleum.”
“How imperial mausoleums were built changed as time passed, so it is interesting to observe the differences,” said tour guide Shoichi Wakahata, 35.
The second trip, to be held next month, will take visitors around 10 locations including the mausoleum of Emperor Jinmu. The last of the 15 trips will cover the graves of Emperor Taisho and Emperor Showa in Tokyo.
Tourists who take part in all the trips will be able to collect 93 seal stamps commemorating their visits to the mausoleums.
Reservations for the second to sixth trips are currently open. About 180 participants have registered so far, according to Hankyu Travel.
“We’ve planned a tour perfectly fit for the first year of the Reiwa Era,” a company official said. Reiwa started on May 1, when Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne.
Other travel agencies are also operating tours commemorating the new era.
JTB Corp. has tour plans including one taking participants to Dazaifu, in Fukuoka Prefecture, which is associated with the name Reiwa.
Dazaifu is believed to be the location of an eight century plum-blossom viewing, an event which inspired the era name.
Meanwhile, Nippon Travel Agency Co. is conducting tours to overseas tourist spots that Emperor Naruhito has visited.
“All these tours are popular and selling well,” a JTB official said.