For many, love grows stronger and sweeter with age — and that's certainly what Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko presented to their nation on Wednesday. The Japanese royals were simply too cute as they strolled around the Hayama Imperial Villa, embracing one another and waving to well-wishers.
The Emperor, 81 and his wife, 80, were exemplary models of what a long-lasting marriage should be like as they enjoyed the outdoors in their casual wear and leather gloves. The duo were all smiles as they briskly braved the chilly outdoors.
The royal couple seem to have a great respect for one another. This past October, while celebrating her 80th birthday, Michiko had only praise for her husband. She said, "In the more than 50 years that I have spent by his side, His Majesty has always remained modest and humble, and he has constantly guided me and the children, at times strictly, but always with a generous heart."
Michiko continued, "This, I believe, is what has allowed me to come this far."
The two have been married since 1959, with Michiko being the first commoner to marry into the Japanese royal family — and later, boasting the title of the most traveled imperial consort in Japan's history. They have three children, the oldest being Naruhito, who is the current heir to the throne.
Japan's elder royals have long had a love of nature and the outdoors. The Emperor is an avid sportsman, environmentalist and noted scientist with numerous published papers. In fact, he begins each day with a bird and plant-spotting walk on his estate.
His wife shares the same passion, as she explained during her birthday celebration: "One day a confused moth flew into the laundry room, and I recall being stunned by its beauty — during that time, the things which left the strongest impression were mostly, for some reason, things to do with living things in nature."
Sounds like love is in the air and has been since the 1950s for these Japanese royals.