Emperor, Empress Surprisingly Stroll Outside Palace

Society

Tokyo, April 8 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko unexpectedly appeared outside the Imperial Palace, to take a walk, on Sunday morning, surprising people who happened to be at the scene, including joggers.

The Imperial couple routinely takes a walk inside the premises of the palace in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. It is rare for them to go outside of the estate for strolling.

Emperor Akihito, 85, who is set to abdicate on April 30, and Empress Michiko, 84, left the palace from the Kitahanebashi gate on the north of the estate around 7:10 a.m. (10:10 p.m. Saturday GMT).

The Emperor, wearing a black jacket, and the Empress, dressed in white, walked slowly, arm in arm, about 200 meters until they reached the Inui gate of the palace, watching blooming Somei-Yoshino and weeping cherry trees along the street with smiles.

Also during the 10-minute stroll, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko waved smilingly to joggers and others who looked surprised to unexpectedly see them. Later, they went back to the palace through Inui Street at the Imperial estate.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press