AKEMASHITE OMEDETO GOZAIMASU (Happy New Years) Our first trip of 2018 was a visit to the Imperial Palace to greet Japanese Royalty, called Ippan Sanga. This was a rare opportunity to see them directly. After standing in line for roughly 2 hours, we finally got to see Emperor Akihito. The 83-year-old will officially retire on 30 April 2019 in the first abdication by a Japanese emperor for 200 years. Due to this, there were 126,000 people in the massive crowd. We were surrounded by 126,000 Japanese people who waved and beamed with love towards their leader. The Emperor and his family will waved to the crowd from CHO-WA DEN PALACE (a part of the Imperial Palace) balcony with new years greeting. It was a short experience, but definitely one to remember.