Takamado Princess On Canadian Tour

Princess Hisako has been in Canada this week on an informal tour to celebrate 90 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Canada. The visit kicked off last Saturday in Mississauga with a summery hat in finely woven straw with a moderate brim, trimmed with orange and peach feathers and net veil circling  the base of the crown.

On Sunday in Toronto, she princess met Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell in a sunny yellow straw hat with upturned brim bound in a wide white stripe, trimmed with a yellow silk bow.
On Monday, she continued on to Ottawa where she visited the Supreme Court of Canada in a white hat with wide kettle brim, trimmed with a lime silk hatband and floral spray.
Tuesday’s programme included a meeting with Governor General Julie Payette and a return to the Canadian Museum of History, where in 1985, she and the late Prince openned a Japanese Zen Garden. For these engagements, Princess Hisako wore an elegant cream lace suit with matching short-brimmed hat. The hat’s crown and front bow are covered in the same lace which lends some textural dimension to the design.


On Wednesday, Princess Hisako traveled to Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province, on the Atlantic east coast. There, in the town of Cavendish, she opened Montgomery Park, a commemorative park to Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote well known book, Anne of Green Gables. For this opening, the princess donned a boater hat covered in cream silk with a swirling pleated brim, trimmed with white maple leaves, cornflower blue organza tufts and net veil. The hat has a decidedly Edwardian feel which gives a lovely nod to this famous book (published in 1908 and set around the same time) and makes it one of the most romantic Imperial royal hats in recent memory! Listen to a snipet of Princess Hisako’s dedication speech below- it’s charming and she has a lovely voice!



On Thursday, she visited Green Gables and in a touching gesture, she topped her black floral suit in a vibrant green hat in nearly the same shade as the famous location. The design features a wide rolled brim and black hatband, piped in the same floral pattern as her suit- a new addition since we last saw it.


After a stop in Alberta, she landed in Vancouver where yesterday, she attended Nikkei Matsuri, a large Japanese cultural festival. In another thoughtful diplomatic touch, she wore a white straw saucer hat with folded crin brim trimmed with sprays of red and white silk maple leaves on both sides (above the brim on the left, below the brim on the right). I know some consider such statements cheesy but my Canadian heart is warmed by the gesture.


And finally, today in Victoria, Princess Hisako visited government house in what believe is the same white kettle brimmed hat she wore on Monday, swapping out the lime hatband and flowers for a leaf green bow on the side. I suspect this isn’t the first quick change of trim this hat has experienced to make it coordinate with other ensembles- it looks awfully close to this hat she wore last July.

Princess Hisako routinely wears some of my favourite pieces of Imperial royal millinery and this tour has had some wonderful hats. What do you think about the hats she has worn in Canada this week?

Photos from social media as indicated. Special thanks to @ImperialJPNfan on Twitter for curating and sharing all of this information on the tour. 

Mikasa Princess Attends Exhibition With Turkish President

On Sunday, Princess Akiko of Mikasa hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan at the opening of the Ara Guler Photography Exhibition at the 800-year-old Tofukuji temple in Osaka. For this occasion (which followed last week’s G20 Summit, also in Osaka), Princess Akiko wore a hat that departs from her usual millinery style.

Embed from Getty Images

The cream straw hat loosely follows an oversize cloche shape with a few variations- rim at the top of the wider-than-usual crown, upturned kettle brim- and is trimmed with an ice blue hatband that links with Akiko’s dress. What’s notable here, I think, is the large scale. While it does have the slight air of ‘overturned flowerpot’, I’m always happy to see an Imperial princess  experiment with new millinery shapes, scale and trimmings so this gets smile and nod from me.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: July 20, 2015

What do you think of Princess Akiko’s hat?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Imperial Royals Host and Embark on Foreign Visits

Numerous world leaders were in Japan this week for the G20 Summit- on Thursday, the emperor and empress welcomed French President and Mrs. Macron to the Imperial Palace for a luncheon in their honour. While the empress, as hostess, did not wear a hat, the Imperial princesses in attendance did.

Princess Mako and Princess Kako both wore silk covered bumper hats trimmed with bows at the back. It’s difficult to tell- I think Mako’s hat and suit is an almond beige while Kako’s looks to be a blush pink.


Embed from Getty Images

Princess Nobuko of Mikasa wore a grey hat with Pork pie crown and rolled brim trimmed with a darker grey hatband and bow at the back. Princess Hisako of Takamado topped her blue and grey floral print suit with a repeated ivory saucer. The hat features an ivory windowpane crin inverted binding around the brim and is trimmed with pale blue silk ruffled flowers on the side.

The most interesting hats of the day were on Princess Yoko of Mikasa, who wore a white hat with wide, curved brim and tall pinched crown, trimmed with a pale turquoise hatband and Princess Tsuguko of Takamado, whose hat featured a navy crown with ivory wrap and ivory brim with a stripe of navy binding. With her navy and cream ensemble, the hat topped a crisp and very summery look.

Embed from Getty Images


This year marks 100 years of Polish-Japanese diplomatic relations, a centennary being celebrated with a visit by Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko to the Eastern European nation. For their arrival yesterday at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Princess Kiko wore a cream bumper hat with upfolded brim. Polish first lady Agata Duda’s fuchsia straw button percher with straw loops and feathers is a small hat but an eye-catching one!

Embed from Getty Images

For a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier later in the day, the Crown Princess wore a brimmed white hat with upturned kettle brim trimmed with a layered taupe hatband. Kiko wears so many brimless bumpers, it’s great to see her in a brimmed design for a change.

Following the visit to Poland, Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko will continue to Finland where we’ll no doubt see several more hats. What do you think of these designs at these foreign diplomatic relations events?

Photos from Getty and social media as indicated

Closer Look At Princess Hisako’s Hats

Princess Hisako recently wore two hats that I think, require a closer look because of their interesting detail. So, I’m going to do something I don’t usually do and bring them forward for discussion! The first was worn back on May 22 to an exhibition at the Finish Embassy in Tokyo celebrating 100 years of Finish-Japanese diplomatic relations. If you open the photos below, both show good views of the scalloped brim of her hat, a design feature we don’t often see but is executed beautifully on this piece.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I think it’s new

The second hat first appeared last summer. It’s a wide-brimmed straw design with pork pie indented crown. At its first outing the hat was trimmed with a green twist in the same fabric as Hisako’s suit and appeared to have a wide stripe of white crin around the brim.

The hat made another appearance on May 25 this year at an African Festival in Yokohama.


Better views (and a helpful guest of wind!) showed that the white crin actually forms a second brim that overlays the black straw. The overlay is just attached at the intersection of brim and crown (where the hatband sits) which allows the crin to gently move on the overhanging edge.


Views of the back (open up the gallery below to see large-size photos) show great views not only of the crin overbrim, but of the indented crown and this hat’s new trim- a slim white hatband that ties in a bow at the back and a spray of black silk flowers. It’s sometimes difficult to tell when Imperial royal hats are renovated but this change is clear and interesting to look at in closer detail.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: August 6, 2018

Both hats have some unique features we don’t usually see on royal hats (much less Imperial ones)- what do you think, after seeing these improved views?

Photos from social media as indicated 

American-Imperial State Visit Concludes

The American state visit to Japan concluded today with a photo op and farewells. Empress Masako wore a beautifully cut, textured white suit topped with a white bowler hat variation with the straight-sided, domed-top crown we’ve seen her wear many times before. Covered in what looks like white silk, the hat is trimmed in a wide hatband that either pinstriped in a pale, neutral stripe or made of multiple layers of overlapping white ribbon- until we get a closer view, it’s too hard to tell.

Embed from Getty Images

The mix of textures on suit and hatband, combined with her exquisite pearl necklace, comes together for another quietly elegant look on Masako. Yes, the colour is a bit restrained but she wears it well and the soft palate has created a consistently stately look on her this visit- a look she has carried with poise and confidence. I just wish there was more than just a hatband to tell all her ivory/cream/white hats apart. I’m starting to suspect some are repeated, but with different hatbands…

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: Not with this hatband. But…maybe with another one? Stay tuned for an upcoming post where we’ll explore this more. 

What do you think of this look on Empress Masako today?

Photos from Getty as indicated 

Imperial Royals Welcome American State Visit

The first foreign state visit of the Reiwa Era began today with the arrival of the American President and First Lady in Japan. Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako greeted their visitors with a welcome ceremony at the Imperial Palace, the Empress in what appears to be a new hat.

Embed from Getty Images

In pristine white (silk, I think), the design features a short brim rolled on the sides and a straight-sided, flat crown. The hat is simply trimmed in a a hatband in the same parchment-hued silk as Masako’s matching suit, embellished in slim, diagonal pinstripes of pale taupe beads. It’s a quietly subtle look for the Empress and what stands out are those stripes of beads on the hatband, visible even at considerable distance, which add lovely movement and dimension.

Embed from Getty Images

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Crown Princess Kiko topped a pale blue silk dress with matching Breton style hat, covered in the same crepe silk. Rows of stitching punctuate the hat’s brim, which vents on one side in an elegant scallop. It’s another quietly subtle look but let’s not kid ourselves- this visit was never going to see bold looks or creative hats on the Imperial royal ladies.

2019-05-27 US state visit 3 250

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Thoughts about these two hats today in Japan?

Photos from The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; and Getty as indicated 

Masako Supports Red Cross For First Solo Engagement As Empress

Empress Masako, Crown Princess Kiko, Princess Hanako, Princess Nobuko and Princess Hisako enjoyed a joint engagement today at the Japanese Red Cross Society’s annual meeting in Tokyo. For Masako’s first solo official duty as empress, she repeated a cream bowler variation hat with domed, straight-sided crown and upturned kettle brim, trimmed with a wide navy hatband folded into a flat bow at the back. It’s a prim hat that pairs well with her navy and cream suit.



Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: This is tricky by my guess is it’s the same as the one worn May 26, 2018

Crown Princess Kiko repeated a bumper hat covered in the same finely striped ice blue silk as a matching suit. Bias placement on the brim give a diagonal contrast to the stripes, breaking up the one-note ensemble. Views from this hat’s last outing show it also has a small posy of silk flowers tucked behind the brim on one side.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: April 26, 2016

Princess Hanako repeated her ecru square crowned hat with double sidesweeping brim, simply trimmed with a wide silk hatband in the same colour. The brim shape and tall, angular crown are elements we don’t often see on Imperial royal hats and Hanako caries it very well.

Designer: 
Previously Worn: May 13, 2015; July 10, 2014 

Princess Nobuko paired a white hat with flat crown and rolled brim with her blue silk, the two pieces drawn together with a blue silk hatband and side bow.

Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: I believe this hat is new

Princess Hisako repeated a pale grey hat with flat crown and gently curved saddle brim. The hat appears to have undergone tweaking since its first appearance last fall- gone is the flat hatband in the same fabric as the matching jacquard suit and in its place are stacked applique cutouts from the floral fabric (maybe with some lace as well?). The resulting 3D hatband gives fantastic interest and dimension to the small scaled hat and leaves me wondering why such embellishment isn’t seen on hats, more.

Designer: 
Previously Worn: October 1, 2018

I can’t imagine that the all cream and blue/grey palate worn by the Empress and Imperial princesses is a coincidence and one wonders the behind-the-scenes logistics that accompanies such planning (I suppose the Empress can’t wake up and say, “No, I think I’ll wear the pink instead….”!). Thoughts about this quintet of Imperial royal hats?

Photos from The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun and The Asahi Shimbun via Getty; social media as indicated