Imperial Visit to Ise Shrine

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko journeyed to Ise this week to take part in rituals at Ise Jingu Shrine related to the emperor’s upcoming abdication. One of the most sacred Shinto shrines in the country that can only be overseen by a chief priest or priestess from the Imperial family, it is currently under the charge of Sayako Kuroda, the couple’s daughter, who celebrated her 50th birthday on Thursday.

Embed from Getty Images

The Emperor and Empress’ arrival at Ujiyamada Station on Wednesday gave us a great view of the oyster hat Empress Michiko recently brought into rotation.  The lattice crin underbrim and darker grey piping on the bow are delicate touches to be appreciated and ones easily missed from the further views we usually get. These subtle contrasts give layers of texture and interest to the hat, making it a much more complex and nuanced design than it appears at first glance.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images
Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Mar 26, 2019
For the visit to the shrine Thursday, the Emperor wore traditional morning suit and carried a black silk top hat.
Empress wore a pearly white rimmed saucer with pinwheel silk bow and delicate lattice crin underbrim
Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images
Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: March 25 2014;
Following the shine visit, Empress Michiko repeated her pale pink disc with crin underbrim, trimmed with double silk bows and silk flowers. It’s another delicate design (and not grey!) that she wears really well.
Embed from Getty Images
Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Feb 24, 2019; Nov 14, 2018
For the couple’s return train journey to Tokyo yesterday, the Empress repeated her slate bluey-grey rimmed saucer with looped silk bow trim. We’ve seen this hat a few times on Michiko but it remains a great one on her- at closer view, the silk bows have the most beautiful sheen that just makes the hat.
Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown. Likely Akio Hirata
Previously Worn: Mar 28, 2019; June 10, 2018; Mar 29, 2018; Mar 7, 2018; Oct 29, 2017

It’s amazing to think that there will be a new emperor and empress in Japan in 10 days… and while it’s unclear what role this couple will have, I hope we’ll see them from time to time. I’ve come to appreciate many of Empress Michiko’s signature saucers – especially some of the ones here – and I would hate to see both the hats and their very dignified and elegant wearer disappear altogether from public view.

Photos from Getty as indicated

9 thoughts on “Imperial Visit to Ise Shrine

  1. It’s unfortunate we have not had more time/opportunities to admire that first pearl white hat, because it is stunning, even in its simplicity and familiarity!

    The second hat with the all-white floor-length dress is a beautiful ensemble, and it reminds me of the Empress at Fabiola’s funeral and makes me wish we could’ve seen the Empress in more long dresses with hats.

    I’m very happy to have the cherry blossom hat back out one more time before the abdication; it’s a beautiful hat for the Empress, I love the details, and the pastel pink color is great for her. A perfect representation of Japan in the spring!

    I had forgotten the color of the last hat and outfit is a more saturated blue than in these photos, and while it is a predictable look, it is the Empress’ look, and I don’t want to remember her any other way style-wise.

    A fantastic look at some of the final outings for TIM. I hope the soon to be Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita will enjoy their retirement, but that they won’t disappear completely!

  2. I love the way the first hat coordinates with Michiko’s brooch! It is a very elegant outfit! Yes, I will miss both the Emperor and the Empress! I wish them a long and happy retirement!

  3. Glitter Girl and Shannon express exactly what I’m thinking about this elegant and dedicated couple.

    And splendid new saucer for the Empress. You are so right about that touch of piping on the bow, HatQueen.

  4. What extraordinary ambassadors for their country! They have represented and supported Japan with elegance, grace and kindness. I wish them well in their retirement.

  5. I am feeling strangely emotional about the Abdication. I will miss the mischievous smile of the Emperor, and the elegance of the Empress. I, too, hope we will continue to see this couple regularly, and that they have a Happy well-deserves retirement.

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