Kovind arrives in Japan to attend enthronement ceremony

President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita during a visit to the Tsukiji Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Tokyo, Japan, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. (RB/PTI Photo)

President Ram Nath Kovind arrived here on Monday to attend the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito, to be held on Tuesday, and also visited a Buddhist temple in Tokyo where he planted a Bodhi sapling, which he carried from India.

This is the first presidential visit to Japan from India after a gap of 19 years. The last presidential visit was in 1990 when the then president, Ramaswamy Venkatraman, attended the enthronement ceremonies of Emperor Emeritus Akihoto who stepped down last year.

The president arrived in Tokyo in the morning after concluding his five-day state visit to the Philippines.

He will be attending the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito on Tuesday, the Rashtrapati Bhawan tweeted.

After arriving at Tokyo, Kovind visited the Tsukiji Hongwanji Buddhist temple, which is also a popular pilgrimage destination.

"Delighted to visit and pay respects at the Tsukiji Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Tokyo. At the Temple, planted a Bodhi sapling that I carried from India. This sapling would grow in its new august surroundings and symbolise the Indo-Japan civilisational ties and our common heritage," the President tweeted in both English and Japanese languages.

The enthronement ceremony of 59-year-old Emperor Naruhito's ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne marks the high point of succession rituals that began in May and will last through the spring.

Tuesday's ceremony allows Naruhito to proclaim himself Japan's 126th emperor in a ritual dating back to the 7th century.

Naruhito has been a full-fledged emperor since succeeding in May after the abdication of his father, Akihito.

During his three-day visit, Kovind will also interact with the Indian community in Tokyo.

On Wednesday afternoon, he will travel in superfast train to Kakegawa city, which houses a large number of Japanese companies.

There he will participate in the foundation ceremony of Sino Soto, a place which will be developed as a temple with space for meditation, yoga and as a centre to highlight Indian tradition and culture, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement ahead of his visit.

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