Photo/IllutrationVisitors at Shogoin temple in Kyoto's Sakyo Ward take in the details of the litter likely used by Emperor Kokaku. (Yoshiko Sato)

  • Photo/Illustraion

KYOTO--A biannual special exhibition at 20 temples and shrines here will focus on items with close ties to past emperors in light of the new imperial era that will start on May 1.

The spring exhibition, organized by the Kyoto Heritage Preservation Association, began on April 26 and will continue until May 6, although there may be slight differences in the schedules at individual facilities.

At Shogoin temple in Sakyo Ward, a litter likely used to carry Emperor Kokaku during the Edo Period (1603-1867) is on display. The temple has close ties to the imperial household, having been led by an imperial family member or regent’s family until the Meiji Restoration of 1868.

When the imperial palace in Kyoto was destroyed by fire in 1788, Emperor Kokaku temporarily resided on the grounds of Shogoin temple for three years.

The litter on display is 610 centimeters long, 126 cm wide and 170 cm high. The interior contains paintings of various imperial ceremonies held during the four seasons.

The imperial chrysanthemum seal is engraved on the two sides of the litter, indicating it was used by Emperor Kokaku or his younger brother, Prince Einin, who once headed Shogoin temple.

A separate admission fee of 800 yen ($7.20) for adults and 400 yen for junior and senior high school students is needed to view the exhibits at each of the temples or shrines.

A list in English of the facilities taking part in the special exhibition can be found at the Kyoto Heritage Preservation Association’s website at (