Twice a year, on January 2nd in celebration of the New Year and on December 23rd which is the current Emperor Akihito’s birthday, the inner section of the Japanese Imperial Palace opens to the general public to tour a portion of the Imperial grounds and hear the Emperor give a speech. This year my family and I were excited to witness the Emperor and his family during the New Year’s speech. We signed up with a local tour group and rode the tour bus to near the Imperial grounds in Tokyo, Japan. Many people take the trains to near the Imperial Palace grounds.
Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu is the traditional New Year’s greeting in Japan that means Happy New Year!