Tenno No Tanjobi
Tenno no Tanjobi is a national holiday with a movable date, due to the nature of the event being celebrated.
Currently scheduled for December 23, this annual tradition marks the existing Emperor's birthday.
With each succession to the role of Emperor, it's necessary to change the public holiday calendar to reflect the new Emperor's date of birth.
The Emperor's Birthday
Tenno no Tanjobi is one of only 2 days when the Imperial Palace is open to the public. This is a time for the Imperial family, consisting of the Emperor, the Empress, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, to meet and greet their loyal Japanese subjects.
However, this is not a hand-shaking, get to know you type of occasion. Instead, the family appears behind bullet proof glass on the balcony of the Imperial Palace.
If you would like to take part in this event and see the Imperial family for yourself, the cost is simply your transportation fee to get there. Entry is free of charge.
Follow the hordes of people you will see making their way across Nijubashi Bridge into the courtyard below the balony. Collect your free Japanese flag on the way in and get ready to wave it madly when the Emperor finishes his address to the people.
You will hear many shouts of "Banzai", which on this occasion stands for "long live the Emperor". You'll also notice that the majority of the crowd is made up of older generations, or tourists on vacation in Tokyo.
The Imperial family is not held in the same regard by younger Japanese people and I do wonder what will happen to this celebration as the years go by.
For now though, go along and enjoy the atmosphere and festivities held in honor of this special day.