The key ritual of the Daijosai, or Great Thanksgiving Ceremony, has just started at the Imperial Palace. Daijosai is celebrated only once after a new Emperor's accession to the throne.
Emperor Naruhito, in a white traditional ceremonial dress, emerged on a corridor of the Daijokyu complex, built specially for the occasion in the palace's East Gardens, a little before 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The Emperor proceeded slowly in the dark corridor, lit only by candles. He was led by chamberlains holding the sacred sword and jewel, two of the Imperial Regalia.
Crown Prince Akishino followed the Emperor.
A little after 6:30 p.m., the Emperor alone entered the Yuki Hall to begin the Daijokyu-no-gi ritual.
Empress Masako also emerged in a ceremonial 12-layered white kimono and the hairstyle called "osuberakashi."
She went into the Choden Hall next to the Yuki Hall.