Emperor Akihito of Japan visited today the sanctuary of Ise, the most important sacred place of Shinto, where he held a ritual prior to his abdication, which is scheduled for the next day 30.
Akihito went to this shrine located in the prefecture of Mie (central Japan) accompanied by Empress Michiko during a trip of three days to this region, which will be the last during the mandate of the current emperor, according to the Imperial House Agency Japan
Ise Jingu is considered the Mecca of Shintoism because the tradition of this indigenous religion calls to visit at least once in life, and it is worshiped Amaterasu, the sun goddess and ancestor of the Japanese Imperial Family according to the local folklore
Akihito offered prayers in the sanctuary and brought with him the sword Kusanagi and a jewel of jade, two of the Three Sacred Treasures that symbolize the power of the emperor and that he will return during a ceremony scheduled for the 30th, when his abdication will be formalized.
Naruhito will ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, once these two Sacred Treasures pass into his hands and a replica of the third remaining, the mirror Yata no kagami, whose original is kept in the sanctuary of Ise.
The 85-year-old emperor was the Ise shrine for the last time in 2014, and today's was his fifth visit since he came to the throne in 1989 after the death of his father, Hirohito.
Akihito is scheduled to visit the tomb of his predecessor next Tuesday at the imperial mausoleum of Musashino, outside Tokyo, among other official events in which he will participate until his last hearing as an emperor before political representatives on the 30th.