Photo/IllutrationThe pre-ceremony for the Daijosai was held in the east garden of the Imperial Palace on Nov. 13. (Pool)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Emperor Naruhito is set to perform the key event of the Daijosai imperial succession rites, whereby he will offer newly harvested rice to various deities and imperial ancestors.

The Daijokyu-no-Gi will take place from the evening of Nov. 14 until early the next day at a temporary hall in the east garden of the Imperial Palace.

The compound, comprising about 30 structures built for the succession rites, was opened to the media the previous day, showing the gravel-covered grounds, and a hallway leading to both the Yukiden (east side) and Sukiden (west side) adorned with white cloth.

Naruhito, who ascended to the throne in May, will conduct the Shinto rite at both sites clad in white silk, representing purity.

A pre-ceremony to pray for a smoothly run Daijosai was held the same day.

The offerings, as well as a prayer for peace and an abundant harvest, will be conducted on the east side starting at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 14, and on the west side at 12:30 a.m. the following morning.

About 520 people, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, are expected to attend.

The Daijokyu area will be open to the public for free from Nov. 21 to Dec. 8, after which it will be dismantled.

The group of Daijosai thanksgiving rituals is expected to cost about 2.44 billion yen ($22.4 million) in total.

Some have argued that because the government-funded event is of a religious nature, it runs counter to the constitutional separation of state and religion.

The Imperial Household Agency made efforts to reduce the cost as much as possible, including the use of structures that could be easily assembled and dismantled.

The Daikyo-no-Gi banquet hosted by the emperor will be held at the Imperial Palace on Nov. 16 and 18.

(This article was written by Aya Nagatani and Ayako Nakada.)