This is another three-day-weekend in Japan.
Monday, December 23rd is 「天皇誕生日」 (“The Emperor (of Japan)’s birthday”).
The Emperor will turn 80 years old on Monday!
When I participated in the 「深川八幡宮水かけ祭り」 (Fukugawa-Hachiman-gu Water-throwing Festival) in August 2012, I passed in front of the Emperor and Empress who had come to watch the festival.
In Japan, Christmas isn’t a legal holiday. It’s a regular working day.
But the Emperor’s birthday is a holiday…almost everyone has the day off.
The Emperor of Japan greets the public at the palace grounds twice a year. On his birthday and on January 2nd.
These are the only two days a year that the public are permitted into the inner palace grounds.