On April 30, 2019, Japanese Emperor Akihito abdicated his throne, becoming the first to do so in 200 years. Claiming health issues, he stepped down as the country’s royal, and on May 1, his son, Naruhito, became the new Emperor of Japan. Since then, he’s been actively performing his duties, but the official coronation ceremony will take place on October 22.
Although the ceremony involves many festivities, the main one is the opening motorcade that will drive Naruhito to the coronation in style. Toyota accepted the important job of creating the vehicle that will take the new Emperor and Empress to their royal celebration. What Toyota designed is pretty impressive.
What did Toyota create for Emperor Naruhito?
To celebrate the new emperor’s coronation, Toyota built a specially modified version of its Century sedan — one befitting of a royal. This one-of-a-kind vehicle has a V8 hybrid power train, hand-carved grille ornament, and a finish that contains seven layers of paint. A gold imperial seal adorns the bumpers where a license plate would normally reside.
The interior doesn’t disappoint either, with ultra-luxurious features appropriate for Naruhito and his family, even though they won’t spend much time in it. The rear seats rest four centimeters higher than standard ones, and the backrests allow for a 25-degree incline under an open-top roof. This allows the Japanese citizens to see their new emperor without the car blocking their view.
The 1990 Rolls Royce Corniche III drove Emperor Akihito to his coronation many years ago. This sedan also had a drop-top but it measured shorter and narrower than his son’s Century.
What is Toyota’s special car for?
Beginning October 22, the coronation ceremony will take place over several days to celebrate the new Emperor and Empress of Japan. Activities include banquets attended by dignitaries and other foreign royals. Naruhito will wear the traditional robes as his father once did.
A motorcade is scheduled to usher Naruhito and his wife to the official ceremony. They will adorn the Century with the Emperor’s flag as it’s driven through the city. The royal couple will ride and greet the Japanese citizens along the route, scheduled to last around half an hour. It offers plenty of opportunities for photos of the Emperor and Empress with the Royal limousine.
What happens to the Toyota Century after the motorcade?
The sedan will become the property of the Cabinet Office, which will manage it during Naruhito’s reign. Like its predecessor’s Rolls Royce Corniche, it won’t be seen in public often, only during scheduled displays and for brief periods of time.
The Toyota Century will appear at various palaces and guest houses throughout Tokyo and Kyoto. They will also use it during some of the country’s special occasions, like the 2020 Olympics scheduled in Japan. The rest of the time it will be protected by the Cabinet Office.
The Toyota Century convertible, built for the Emperor, seems more than suitable to take him to his coronation ceremony. The world will be watching for it on October 22. Just like a Prince arriving at the royal ball in style, Naruhito and his wife will appear at the festivities to greet their guests with a convertible built for a modern Emperor.