Takamikura (高御座)

Takamikura is the special Imperial throne which designates the official place where the Emperor sits.

Summary

In Heijokyo (the ancient capital of Heijokyo), the Takamikura is at the Daigokuden (the Council Hall in the Imperial Palace) of the Heijo Palace, in Heian kyo, it is at Daigokuden and Horakuden Hall of the Outer Palace Precincts, and later located at Shishinden (the Hall for State Ceremonies) of the Imperial Palace, where the Emperor sits for a state ceremony like he does at an enthronement ceremony, the Choga ceremony (New Years ceremony), the ceremony of Bankaku Inken (the ceremony to see a delegate from overseas), etc. After the Imperial Palace was ruined, the Takamikura was moved to the Shishinden of Kyoto Imperial Palace.

The current Takamikura was made in accordance with an old fashioned method like the one used when Emperor Taisho was enthroned, the Imperial throne was changed from a Futon cushion, to a chair, the Michodai, where the Empress sits, was a new addition. It is at the Shishinden of Kyoto Imperial Palace, it can be seen when the place is open to the public in Spring and Autumn.

The structure
The structure of the Takamikura consists of three levels of covered black stairs with a palace shaped portable octagon shrine sitting on top, and is decorated with a mythical sacred bird (phoenix) from Chinese lore, mirrors, and chairs.

The Takamikura and the Imperial Palace
It is traditionally considered that Takamikura is where the Emperor sits, and there is a theory that it is the original Imperial palace. Currently the Takamikura is still kept in Shishinden of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. The enthronement ceremonies of Emperor Taisho and Emperor Showa were held at the Kyoto Imperial Palace where the Takamikura is kept, in the case of the ceremony for the present Emperor, Takamikura and Michodai were moved to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, they were then moved back to Shishinden, Kyoto after the ceremony.