National

Japan's new imperial couple to visit Grand Shrines of Ise and ancestors' mausoleums later this year

Kyodo

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako are scheduled to visit the Grand Shrines of Ise in Mie Prefecture and mausoleums of previous monarchs by the end of this year as part of the rituals marking the imperial succession.

Following the Nov. 14-15 Daijosai offering ceremony, a key rite performed by a new emperor once during his reign, the imperial couple will visit the shrines on Nov. 22 and 23 to report the emperor’s enthronement to the ancestral deities of the imperial family enshrined there.

The Grand Shrines of Ise are believed to enshrine Amaterasu Omikami, the Shinto sun goddess and the mythical ancestral deity of the imperial family, as well as Toyouke no Omikami, the deity and guardian of food, housing and clothing as well as businesses.

Sayako Kuroda, the emperor’s younger sister, who left the imperial household after marrying a commoner in 2005, currently serves as supreme priestess of the shrines.

On Nov. 27 and 28, the emperor and the empress will visit the mausoleums of the legendary first leader, Emperor Jimmu, as well as Emperor Komei, who reigned in the 19th century, and Emperor Meiji in Nara and Kyoto prefectures.

On Dec. 3, they will travel to the mausoleums of Emperor Taisho and Emperor Showa, great-grandfather and grandfather of Emperor Naruhito, in Hachioji, western Tokyo.

The couple will hold a tea party Nov. 28 at the Kyoto Imperial Palace, inviting representatives of various circles in western Japan.

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