The Emperor's birthday is on 23rd December and every year it is celebrated with a public ceremony at the Imperial Palace where the gates are opened to the public. The Emperor and other members of the family appear on a palace balcony where the birthday boy gives a speech and everyone waves their flags! We decided to trot along and experience it all. Although there were a lot of people, it was very organised and we got to wave our flags and see the Imperial family.
Everyone was given a paper flag to wave.
Neil looking slightly incongruous as the English 'gent' with his Japanese flags.
As the Imperial family came out onto the balcony, everyone waved their flags in a civilised manner.
The Emperor kept his speech short and sweet.