Japanese emperor Naruhito started a Shinto ritual of great symbolic importance as part of a series of traditional events to mark his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, but the event has sparked some controversy for its religious nature.

Naruhito, who took over from his father Akihito last May and celebrated his ascent to the throne at the end of October, will be taking part in a ceremony known as Daijosai at a Shinto shrine specially built for this occasion within the Imperial Palace.