Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko interacted with students and diplomats among others as they took a morning stroll at Lodhi Gardens here on Sunday. The royal couple is on a six-day official visit to India.

The royal couple was greeted by students present there when they entered the Gardens.

They showed interest in the flora and fauna around. The Ashoka and peepul trees at the Bada Gumbad Gardens in particular caught their attention. “The Emperor was very curious about the Ashoka tree, perhaps because it was Buddha who carried the Ashoka tree to Japan,” said New Delhi Municipal Council advisor (floriculture) S.K. Mathur, who was among those who escorted the royals around the Gardens.

The Emperor appreciated the national bonsai park and the bamboo collection inside the Gardens. Impressed with the Buddha coconut tree, the Emperor expressed his wish for saplings from that tree and the neem tree.

Among those who interacted with the couple was Sardar Patel Vidyalaya student Akshala, who found them “really sweet and nice”.

Class VIII student Siddartha spoke with the Emperor about the Japanese automobile industry.

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