Emperor, Empress Enjoy Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto

Society

Kyoto, March 27 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko privately viewed cherry blossoms at Kyoto Gyoen National Garden in the western Japan city of Kyoto on Wednesday.

In the garden, the couple visited the former residential site of the Konoe family, on which stand some 60 big weeping cherry trees, known for blossoming earliest in the garden. Konoe is one of the five regent families from the Kamakura period, which began in the 12th century.

They arrived in a car shortly past 10:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m. GMT) from the Kyoto Omiya Imperial Palace also in the garden, where they are staying. They strolled around the site and enjoyed white and pink flowers in full bloom.

The couple talked to citizens and tourists gathering around. Stroking the head of a dog, the Emperor said, "This dog is gentle."

The couple is on a trip to Kyoto Prefecture and the neighboring prefecture of Nara, ahead of his abdication slated for April 30.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press