The Prince of Wales visits Japan

Day 1:

Today, The Prince of Wales attended the Enthronement Ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. HM Emperor Naruhito ascended the Japanese throne on 1st May 2019, following the abdication of his father Emperor Emeritus Akihito. HM Emperor Naruhito is Japan’s 126th monarch.

Following the ceremony, His Royal Highness visited Nezu Museum and Gardens. The museum’s collection boasts around 7,400 works, including seven designated National Treasures, 87 Important Cultural Properties, and 94 Important Art Objects. It features a wide variety of works, encompassing painting, calligraphy, sculpture, metalwork, ceramics, lacquerware, wooden and bamboo craft, textiles, armour, tea wares and archaeological specimens. After a guided tour of the garden, The Prince visited an exhibition entitled “Beautiful Lives – Birds and Flowers in Japanese and East Asian Art”, which celebrates the use of birds and flowers in East Asian art. 

This evening at the Imperial Palace, The Prince of Wales attended the Court Banquet, which marks the Emperor’s first official engagement following the Enthronement, with invited dignitaries from Japan and overseas.

Day 2:

This morning, The Prince of Wales visited the Wales Rugby World Cup training ground, whilst they held a closed training session. The ninth Rugby World Cup kicked off on 20th September and is the first time the tournament has been held in Asia, outside rugby’s traditional heartland nations.  Wales will face South Africa in the semi-final on 27th October. The Prince of Wales has been Honorary Patron of the Llandovery Rugby Football club since 2009 and Patron of The London Welsh Rugby Football Club since 1985.

At Harumi Pier, His Royal Highness later visited HMS Enterprise, the fifth HMS coming to Japan since August 2017. After meeting the Japanese Minister for Defence, Taro Kono, The Prince met HMS Enterprise’s crew. His Royal Highness also met a group of people who are at the forefront of responding to the challenges of plastics in the ocean and climate change, including senior figures from the Japan Climate Leaders Partnership. 

In the afternoon, The Prince went to Zōjōji Temple, one of the headquarters of the Jodo tradition of Japanese Buddhism. Accompanied by Yagi-daika, the Head Monk of Zōjōji, His Royal Highness visited Kyozo (the Buddhist Scripture Storage Hall) and the Temple museum, where he heard about the Taitokuinden model, currently on long-term lease from The Royal Collection.

His Royal Highness then visited Mitsukoshi Department Store to visit the Fortnum and Mason café, where there was a showcase of British food and drink including a display of Highgrove products. The visit forms part of the GREAT campaign, which was launched in April 2019. It includes a series of activity British Embassy Tokyo has been running throughout the Rugby World Cup 2019 Tournament in Japan.

At The Ambassador’s Residence, The Prince attended a reception to celebrate UK-Japan partnerships. The British Embassy and British Council in Japan are running a ‘UK in JAPAN 2019-20' campaign until the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in September 2020. The campaign will showcase the best of UK business, culture, science and education, and work to deepen existing, and create new partnerships between the UK and Japan.

At the reception, His Royal Highness said:

It is a particular privilege to be here at such an auspicious time and to be able to play my part in acknowledging this historic moment for Japan, as you begin a new Imperial era with the Enthronement of His Majesty Emperor Naruhito.  That this major national event – which, if I may say so, has been quite brilliantly organised – should be taking place in the midst of the Rugby World Cup is, it seems to me, a rather remarkable testament to Japanese organisational prowess – as well as being rather serendipitous for those of us who wanted to wish our teams well!”

To end the day and His Royal Highness’s trip to Japan, The Prince attended the Prime Minister’s Return Banquet at Hotel New Otani. Two traditional plays were performed prior to Prime Minister Abe’s speech and dinner.