It’s been a monumental moment for Japan as it steps into a new era after the recent abdication of emperor Akihito on 30th April after 3 decades of ruling known as the Heisei era. The chrysanthemum throne is ascended by his son Naruhito as the new emperor of Japan on 1st May thus beginning the era of Reiwa which translates to “Beautiful Harmony” in English, a promise given to the nation and the world.
Japan is known to be the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world dating back to 660BC.
The Emperor’s abdication and ascension also coincides with Japan’s Golden week, making it a 10 day long holiday for the citizens instead of the usual 8 days. A rare occasion to celebrate and enjoy such a long break, most locals takes this opportunity to travel and enjoy Reiwa/ golden week sales in malls like Isetan, Yodobashi, Bic Camera, AEON and many more.
There is even limited edition packaged drinks and snacks that can be found at your local convenience store (Lawson, Family Mart, 7 Eleven) that makes a great souvenir to bring back home because not every day you get to witness a changing of eras as the next one would probably be in 3-4 decades later.
Head over to your nearest convenience stores today to grab them before they are all gone.
To learn more about Japan’s imperial history, travellers can visit Gosho, Kyoto Imperial Palace which is less than 10 mins way from Kyoto station. They have recently built a new restaurant and souvenir shop within the Palace grounds near the entrance for visitors to rest and shop. There’s even seasonal dishes served in bento boxes shaped like the imperial carriage served throughout the day but available while stocks lasts, aside from that their udon is also quite a popular choice among locals.
Entry to the imperial Palace grounds is free, during spring and autumn there is a special 5 days opening where the general public is allowed to enter inside of the Imperial palace without needing to apply for special permission. However, if you would like to visit inside the palace grounds during other periods, you may apply for a guided tour online HERE (conducted in English & Japanese).
Writer: Arisa Chow アリサ・チョウ
A girl who left her heart and soul in Japan, with too much thoughts in that little head of hers which she shares frequently on www.arisachow.com