Japan-wide celebrations mark start of Reiwa Era

01, May. 2019


TOKYO, Kyodo - People attended various events across Japan to celebrate the first day of the Reiwa Era, as Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne on Wednesday.

Some 1,500 residents lined up to form a human representation of the two Chinese characters meaning Reiwa in the southwestern city of Dazaifu, where a plum-blossom viewing that inspired the era name took place in the eighth century.

It took more than an hour for them to form the characters, each of which measured 30 meters by 30 meters.

“I feel lucky to be part of the celebration,” said Hiroshi Nabeshima, 68, who traveled from the nearby city of Fukuoka to join in.

Some headed to scenic places to see the first sunrise of the new era, though the weather was cloudy in many parts of the country.

In the coastal town of Kushimoto in Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, hundreds of people flocked to Cape Shionomisaki, the southernmost point of the country's main island of Honshu.

Hankyu Travel International Co. in Osaka chartered a West Japan Railway Co. express train for tourists to view the sunrise off the cape, but clouds obscured the view.

“The weather is unfortunate, but I hope the new era will be a good period,” said 54-year-old Tokyo resident Masami Oshiyama, who was on the train tour.

Emperor Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne on Wednesday, after his father, the former Emperor Akihito, abdicated the previous day. (Kyodo)