People in Japan marked the beginning of the Reiwa era in a variety of ways.
A woman who took part in one of the countdown events said she hopes that people can make their dreams come true in the new era.
Around 4 a.m. on Wednesday on the island of Minamitorishima, Japan's easternmost territory, people took in the first sunrise of the new era. Others enjoyed watching the sunrise in a flight over Mt. Fuji.
People also offered prayers at a shrine dedicated to the Emperor's ancestors, located in the heart of Tokyo. A young worshipper said that he wished for the success and the health of his family. Another expressed hope the new era will be a calm one.
Some couples also timed their weddings to coincide with the start of the new era. One bride and groom said it is a great way to start their marriage.
Meanwhile, the first babies of the new era were born.
In Kumamoto prefecture, located in southwestern Japan, Haruka was among those who came into the world on the momentous day. Her father said he hopes the new era will bring her good fortune, adding that he hopes all of the newborns will have peaceful and healthy childhoods.
Many people on the streets of Tokyo stopped to watch the accession ceremonies on huge screens. One woman said, "All the decorations the Emperor was wearing made me realize that he had truly become the Emperor." A man said, "I have great expectations for the new Emperor, and hope we will all contribute to a positive era."
And in Osaka, a civic group fired a traditional gun salute in front of one of Japan's biggest castles.