Akihito walks for a ritual called Taiirei-Toashikodokoro

Earlier in the day, Akihito reported his abdication in sanctuaries i

nside the Imperial Palace, including one honouring the sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami, from

whom mythology says the imperial line is descended, and two others for departed emperors and Shinto gods.

Video aired on NHK public television showed Akihito, wearing a dark orange traditional robe and black headdress, wal

king slowly into the first sanctuary as a courtier in a white robe walked behind holding the train and another carried a sword.

Era names, or “gengo” as they are known in Japanese, are used in Japan for the length of a monarch’s reign.

The new era name, Reiwa, meaning beautiful harmony, was announced by the government on April 1.

New era names are usually announced after the accession of the new monarch, but the

government decided to announce the new name in advance of the accession of the new emperor.

Crown Prince Naruhito conducted a similar ceremony, NHK said.

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