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Donning elaborate robes, Japan's new imperial couple hold Shinto rite

Donning elaborate robes, Japan's new imperial couple hold Shinto rite
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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's new Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako donned traditional robes on Wednesday for rituals in which he reported to Shinto gods the date of two important ceremonies later this year, including his enthronement.

Naruhito wore a brown robe and tall black hat during the ritual held at the Imperial Palace, while Masako wore a light green and vermillion gown with long sleeves, photos from the Imperial Household Agency showed.

The 59-year-old emperor inherited the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, a day after the abdication of his father, Akihito, the first monarch to abdicate in two centuries.

Naruhito's enthronement will take place in an elaborate ceremony on Oct. 22, to which hundreds of foreign dignitaries will be invited. He will step into an elevated pavilion called the "Takamikura" and proclaim his succession to the world.

It will be followed by the Great Thanksgiving Ceremony on Nov. 14-15 when Naruhito will offer newly harvested rice and sake to imperial ancestors and deities, and partake of them himself as he prays for a good harvest and national peace.

(Reporting and writing by Malcolm Foster; editing by Darren Schuettler)

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