The Daijokyu and Inui Street at the Imperial Palace
His Majesty Emperor Naruhito of Japan spent the evening of 14 November until the predawn of 15 November performing the Daijosai ritual, completing the last rite before acceding to the Chrysanthemum Throne, in the Daijokyu complex. Mac, our Founder and Lead Guide, visited the Daijokyu during its limited opening to the public. As a bonus, he got to see the autumn foliage on Inui Street. Missed out? Luckily he made a video for posterity!
The Daijosai (大嘗祭; Great Thanksgiving Ceremony) honours the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami. It has its origins at least as far back as the 7th Century. Her Majesty Empress Masako also participated in different rooms wearing a white kimono and a historic ‘osuberakashi’ hairstyle.
The Daijokyu complex is comprised of more than 30 structures in a roughly 90 square metre area in the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. The complex was built especially for the occasion at a cost of approximately ¥1bn (around $9mn). It is set to be demolished over a three-month period from mid-December but before that, from 21 November – 8 December 2019, it has been opened to the public. The Akusha (pavilions for those attending the ceremony) have already been removed to create space for visitors to walk around.
Two of the most important structures in the complex are the two shrines called the Yukiden (east side) and the Sukiden (west side). It was there that Naruhito offered newly-harvested rice to the Imperial Ancestors and the gods. He then partook of the rice, expressed gratitude to the gods and ancestors and prayed for peace in Japan and a strong harvest.
An added bonus if you visit from 30 November to 8 December is the ability to take in the beautiful autumn colours on Inui Street (乾通り). Most years, twice a year—when the cherry trees bloom and again in late autumn—Inui Street in the grounds of Tokyo Imperial Palace is opened to the public. The 1km walk starts from the Sakashita Gate and ends at the Inui Gate on the north side of the palace (visitors also have the option of turning right and heading directly to the East Gardens, or in this case, the Daijokyu).
You can see all this in the video which Mac made, which you can watch below. Enjoy!: