Emperor Naruhito has performed his first ritual at the Imperial Palace since his accession to the throne last week.
The Emperor visited the three Imperial sanctuaries Wednesday morning to report to the Sun Goddess, the souls of his ancestors, and various deities the dates of the Enthronement Ceremony and the Great Thanksgiving Ceremony.
He looked solemn, dressed for the first time in the court costume which has been the Emperor's formal attire for important rituals since ancient times.
Chamberlains accompanied him, carrying a sword and a jewel, two of the three sacred treasures that symbolize the status of the Emperor.
Inside the sanctuaries, the emperor bowed and read out a statement reporting that the ceremony to proclaim his enthronement will be held on October 22 and the key ritual of the Great Thanksgiving Ceremony will be held from November 14 to 15.
Later, Empress Masako, in an ancient-style kimono and hairstyle, similarly bowed to the Imperial ancestors. It was her first visit to the three Imperial sanctuaries since December 2002.
The ceremony was witnessed by Crown Prince Akishino and seven other members of the Imperial family, as well as the country's leaders, including the prime minister, the heads of both chambers of the Diet, the chief justice of the supreme court and Cabinet members.