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Emperor's Birthday, Dec. 23 at the Imperial PalaceTokyo
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Chichibu Yomatsuri. Also see the video at YouTube.
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A total of 6 floats arrive. Chichibu Yomatsuri. Also see the video at YouTube.
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Chichibu Night Festival climax
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Asakusa Hagoita-ichi Battledore Fair, Dec. 17-19
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Asakusa Hagoita-ichi Battledore Fair, Dec. 17-19
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Asakusa Hagoita-ichi Battledore Fair, Dec. 17-19
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Battledore
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Dec. 23, 2004 at 8:30 am: Across the street from the Imperial Palace. Dec. 23 and Jan. 2 are the only two days when the general public is allowed to enter the palace to greet the Emperor and his family.A visit to the Imperial Palace by the general public is called "ippan sanga" in Japanese (一般参賀).

On the Emperor's birthday, the Imperial Palace can be entered only at certain locations. You have to find out where they are and stand in line there. Just go near the Imperial Palace and ask a policeman where you can stand in line. You otherwise cannot enter the grounds. The huge, graveled plaza where you can see Nijubashi Bridge is closed off by police.

While standing in line here, we received free paper Japanese flags.
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On Nijubashi Bridge heading for the Seimon Gate. 正門
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9:40 am: Inside the Imperial Palace. This is called the Kyudentotei. It is a large plaza in front of the palace.
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Filled on our right
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The Crown Prince, the Emperor, and the Empress on the Emperor's Birthday. They were on the balcony for a whole THREE minutes. I thought they would stay there for at least 10 min. Barely had time to mount my telephoto lens.
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Large way going to the graves of the 47 ronin masterless samurai at Sengakuji temple. 四十七士墓所
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Gishisai: Kira's head strung on a spear is brought to Sengakuji temple.
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