23 of December is Emperor of Japan's birthday and simultaneously it's a national holiday. As I have got nothing to do on the day, I have decided to visit the Palace and get involved in the celebration for His Majesty.
Speeches from the Emperor happens three times in the morning therefore you can't miss it. I got up early in order to get in time at the Palace which is quite close to the Marunouchi area, where west side of Tokyo station.
As soon as got off the station and walked to the palace, there were hundreds of people gathering there including excessive right wings and its cars and foreigners as well. Meanwhile most of participants are elderly Japanese however, various people going to the event interestingly. On the way of the Palace, there were boy scouts distributing the National flags so that participants can wave and celebrate His Majesty's birthday during his speech and then I have got one.
In order to reach the place of the photos above, you have to walk about 10 minutes as the space around the Palace is really large. And there are some gates that you have to pass through, which are securities by the police. The first is for your personal belongings, you can't bring massive bags larger than A3 size with you. Not to mention weapons, knives, any other dangerous things are not allowed. If you have got a bag too big under the regulation, you have to deposit at a secure luggage space offered by the police. The second is body check. Police officers probe through your body and pockets. After this, you can enter the Palace and walk to the top for about three minutes along with a long queue. And again, police officers are literally everywhere. However, you can't normally enter the Palace ordinary days except these sort of events.
At the top of the Palace, there is a massive square and a flat building which is quite long for the sideways. You will see loads of people waiting before you arrive. And then you need to await until His Majesty commences his speech.
Finally His Majesty and the Royal family appears, crowds get stared waving their flag provided earlier. It sounds noisy and you can't see the Royal family because of this. Obviously it's too hard to capture them by a camera.
The event finishes 5 minutes long, a speech from the Emperor is not that long and no speech by other members. That's it all about. And then you leave the Palace soon after this, again along with the queue.
But importantly, this is an annual guaranteed opportunity to have a look at His Majesty, so it must be lucky for those who visit Tokyo from overseas on this particular day.