Royalty and statesmen

With his mum Princess Kiko, the little heir to the Japanese throne - who turns two in September - joined the rest of the imperial family on a country break over the weekend
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Prince Hisahito is the centre of attention at the family farm

31 MARCH 2008
As Japan's most famous toddler, Prince Hisahito is greeted with excitement at every appearance. Over the weekend the country's youngest royal who is third in line to the Chrysanthemum throne after his uncle Crown Prince Naruhito and his father Prince Akishino - made headlines with a visit to the imperial farm, 100 kilometres north of Tokyo.

Hisahito arrived in the arms of his mum Princess Kiko for a rural break with his sisters and grandparents, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. The fresh air and family atmosphere will be just the ticket for the little lad, who is a few months shy of his second birthday.

The estate, in the rice- and fruit-growing area surrounding the town of Takanezawa, raises fresh produce for the imperial household and is a favourite retreat for the royal family. In 2005 Hisahito's grandmother, Empress Michiko, wrote a poem in the traditional short Japanese style known as haiku, summing up her happy moments there.

"On the pasture path/The girls on bicycles far ahead/Turn around to call/They are saying something but/Only their laughter reaches us," it reads.