Japanese Emperor Akihito made his last pilgrimage to the country’s holiest Shinto shrine on Thursday, as people lined the route to catch a glimpse of the 85-year-old ahead of his abdication this month.
His father, Hirohito, in whose name Japanese troops fought World War Two, was considered a living deity until after Japan's defeat in 1945, when he renounced his divinity.
Japan on Monday announced its new imperial era, which will begin next month after Emperor Akihito abdicates, will be known as “Reiwa,” a word that includes the character for “harmony.”
The last couple of days in Japan have been of huge historical significance. On Tuesday Emperor Akihito, who ascended the throne in 1989, completed his elaborate abdication ceremony; on Wednesday Emperor Naruhito took over, becoming the island nation’s 126th emperor and ushering in a new era.