New Delhi: Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko were floored by the "gorgeous and colourful" ceremonial reception accorded to them at Rashtrapati Bhavan here Monday.
The presence of smartly-turned out personnel of the three Services as well as the horse-mounted Presidential Bodyguards in their red-gold livery, left the Japanese imperial couple "very much impressed". Sakutaro Tanino, press secretary to the emperor and former envoy to India, said the ceremonial reception was "very big in scale".
The imperial couple, who are on a six-day state visit to India, later went to Rajghat to pay floral tributes at the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi.
They had paid tribute at Rajghat during their visit 53 years ago, when they were in India as crown prince and princess of Japan and were in their early 20s, said Tanino.
The emperor and empress during their visit to the Japanese embassy Sunday were very impressed at how big a peepul tree, known in Japanese as "bo", had grown in the 53 years since they planted it.