National

Emperor's enthronement parade inspiring wedding dresses and tours

Kyodo

Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement parade on Sunday has inspired a number of products and services, ranging from wedding packages offering the same style of dress expected to be worn by Empress Masako to tours of the route.

Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto, which has ties to the imperial household, is offering formal long bridal dresses as part of a wedding package released last year. Following Emperor Naruhito’s accession on May 1, page views for its website have surged to an average of 9,500 per month, around 10 times more than before, according to the shrine.

A similar dress with a low-cut neckline was worn in 1990 by Empress Michiko, Naruhito’s mother, during the parade after Emperor Akihito’s enthronement.

Empress Masako is also expected to wear the same style of dress on Sunday, when she and Emperor Naruhito ride in a convertible sedan along the 4.6-km parade route from the Imperial Palace to their residence at the Akasaka Estate.

Couples who have selected the wedding package have given positive feedback.

“I have adored (the dress) since seeing the empress wear it” after the accession, a bride said.

The shrine is offering two sets of wedding clothes for brides and grooms costing ¥350,000 and ¥380,000, respectively.

“Wedding venues offering the same style of dress worn by the imperial family are rare, so inquiries from overseas have also been increasing. I never expected it to get so big,” said a staff member in charge.

Bookings for parade-viewing tours are also booming. Major travel company Club Tourism International Inc. has been holding “inspection tours,” a popular way to gauge the best spots to view Sunday’s parade.

Emperor Akihito’s parade in November 1990 following his enthronement ritual drew about 120,000 roadside spectators. Based on this turnout, Naoko Sakuma, a Club Tourism International spokeswoman, said she expects last-minute participants to join parade tours on the day.

“There are many people who want to get a taste of the special atmosphere and remember it,” she said.

Pocket Culture Co., a Tokyo-based company specializing in day tours, has organized 15 programs, including those with a French meal at a hotel near the Imperial Palace and a tour of the Diet building.

The company said it has received over 1,000 applications from people across Japan, with some programs already fully booked.

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