More details on the upcoming State Visit by The Emperor and Empress of Japan

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Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress of Japan will pay a State Visit to the United Kingdom as guests of His Majesty The King from Tuesday 25th to Thursday 27th June 2024. Their Majesties The King and Queen will host the State Visit at Buckingham Palace.

Saturday 22nd June

The Emperor and Empress of Japan will arrive privately in the United Kingdom on the afternoon of Saturday 22nd June at Stansted Airport.

Their Majesties will be greeted by His Excellency Mr Hajime Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan. The Viscount Brookeborough KG, Lord-in-Waiting, will greet Their Majesties on behalf of The King. 

Sunday 23rd June - Monday 24th June

Before the State Visit formally commences, the Emperor will conduct a private programme of engagements, including a visit to Japan House and the Thames Barrier. 

Tuesday 25th June

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will greet the Emperor and Empress of Japan, at their hotel, on behalf of The King on Tuesday morning. 

His Royal Highness will travel with the Emperor and Empress to Horse Guards Parade, where Their Majesties will receive a Ceremonial Welcome.

The King and Queen will formally welcome the Emperor and Empress at the Royal Pavilion on Horse Guards Parade. Presentations will be made, the Guard of Honour will give a Royal Salute and the Japanese National Anthem will be played. 

The Emperor, accompanied by The King, will then inspect the Guard of Honour, formed of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards with the Band of the Welsh Guards. Afterwards, the Emperor and Empress will join The King and Queen, and The Prince of Wales, in a carriage procession along The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where they will be met by a second Guard of Honour formed of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.  

Following a lunch at Buckingham Palace, given by The King, His Majesty will invite the Emperor and Empress to view a special exhibition in the Picture Gallery of items from the Royal Collection relating to Japan.

In the afternoon, the Emperor and Empress will visit Westminster Abbey, where the Emperor will lay a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. Their Majesties will take a tour of the Abbey, accompanied by the Dean of Westminster.  

In the evening, The King, accompanied by The Queen and Members of the Royal Family, will give a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace for The Emperor and Empress of Japan. Speeches will be made by The King and the Emperor at the beginning of the banquet. 

Wednesday 26th June

The Emperor will visit The Francis Crick Institute, the UK’s flagship biomedical research centre. The Institute supports an innovative UK-Japan research partnership which covers a range of public health issues, including cancer, vaccines, and the role of genetics in infectious diseases. 

That evening, The Emperor of Japan, joined by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, will attend a Banquet at the Guildhall given by the Lord Mayor and City of London Corporation. The Lord Mayor and The Emperor will both make speeches at the end of the banquet.

Thursday 27th June

The Emperor and Empress of Japan will formally bid farewell to The King and Queen at Buckingham Palace on the morning of the final day of the official State Visit programme. 

The Emperor and Empress will travel to Young V&A, part of the V&A family of museums dedicated to the power of creativity around the world, where the museum’s Japan: Myths to Manga exhibition is currently on display. 

The Emperor will privately visit St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, to lay a wreath on the tomb of Queen Elizabeth II, in the King George VI Chapel. The Garter Banners of the current members of the Order of the Garter, including the banner belonging to His Majesty’s father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, are displayed in the Quire of St. George’s Chapel. 

Later that afternoon, His Majesty the Emperor will tour the historic Temperate House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The Millennium Seed Bank, coordinated by Kew is the world’s largest collection of over 2.4 billion wild plant seeds spanning 97 countries, preserving Japanese and international biodiversity. Bronze Bonsai sculptures by artist Marc Quinn are currently displayed in the Temperate House, surrounded by a display of Bonsai trees from Kew’s collection. 

Friday 28th June

On their final day in the UK, The Emperor and Empress of Japan will visit Oxford for a private programme of engagements including a visit to the colleges where Their Majesties studied. 

At the conclusion of the visit, The Lord Chamberlain will bid farewell to the Emperor and Empress on behalf of The King, before they depart from RAF Brize Norton.

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