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If you haven’t been diligently following our succinct list of “seven cool things set to happen in Japan in 2015,” you might be surprised to hear that the first has already happened! Last week, Britain’s Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, crossed the globe to spend a few days in our neck of woods here in Japan.

While his trip was only four days long, spanning an extended weekend of February 26-March 1, it was all documented by the Kensington Palace official Instagram account, and seems to have been a fun trip for the visiting royal!


But really, four days is not enough time to enjoy all Japan has to offer, especially if it’s your first time visiting, as it was for Prince William. Being the short trip that it was, his schedule was jam-packed, but the Duke of Cambridge was smiling the whole time, clearly enjoying every second of it.

His whirlwind tour of Japan included taking a Shinkansen ride northeast to the 2011 Tohoko disaster area, dining with the Japanese Imperial family, touring the NHK headquarters, participating in a tea ceremony and spending some time at a book store. (More on the bookstore later…)

▼ Being an heir to the throne of Great Britain, Prince William didn’t ride the Shinkansen like the rest of us, he got to visit the cockpit.

▼ He also went a little southwest to visit Hodogaya Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Yokohama, where he met with defense attachés from several countries.

The prince also stopped by the Daikanyama TSUTAYA location in Tokyo. This is no ordinary TSUTAYA book store and rental shop though, as it is known as the “bookstore for adults” (not to be confused with “adult book” store) or “the library in the woods.” The elegant building and garden were designed by a British architect, making it a fitting location for the special exhibit, “Innovation is GREAT,” which is showcasing examples of British creativity and technology. The exhibit was put together in honor of Prince William’s visit and is running from February 20-March 16.

▼ He probably wasn’t expecting to look at British stuff while in Japan.

▼ He did, however, get to see an avatar of himself dressed as a samurai and laugh about it with some lucky Japanese kids.

Of course, there were some traditional Japanese activities too, including a sake barrel breaking ceremony, real-life samurai dress-up time and a tea ceremony.

▼ Luckily for him, they didn’t have him sit seiza during the tea ceremony.

No trip to Japan would be complete without at least one encounter with a mascot character! On a tour of the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) headquarters, the Duke met Domokun, the NHK mascot.

▼ Is Prince William making a Domokun face?!

▼ Okay, this isn’t the prince, but this pooch is so adorably dressed in honor of Prince William’s arrival, we couldn’t not show you!

While Japan was very happy to host the “slender, tall, and elegant” prince (as one of our Japanese writers who saw him in person described him), it’s a shame that Kate Middleton couldn’t join in on the fun. Since she’s pregnant with the next royal family member, she had to sit this one out. Hopefully, the whole family will be on board for the next Royal visit to Japan!

Now, that Prince William’s visit has come and gone we’re looking forward to the next cool thing expected to happen in Japan, but don’t worry, we’re only days away. On March 14, the new Shinkansen line from Nagano to Kanazawa will start running and later this spring we expect to hear about the maiden flight of Japan’s new domestically produced airliner. Stay tuned!

Images: Instagram (Kensingtonroyal), Kaigai no Omaera
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