State visits are formal visits to the United Kingdom by Heads of State from overseas.
A State Visit normally last two or three days and start with an official reception at either Horse Guards in London, Windsor Castle or the Palace of Hollyrood House in Edinburgh.
Invitations to Foreign Monarchs, Presidents or Prime Ministers are sent on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
State Visits normally begin with a ceremonial welcome attended by The Queen and other senior members of the Royal Family.
Once Her Majesty The Queen and other dignitaries have met the visitor they will normally inspect a Guard of Honour, provided by one of the Battalions or Incremental Companies of the Household Division.
The Captain of the Guard will always present the Guard in the language of the visitor.
After inspecting the Guard of Honour, the visiting President or Monarch then travels by carriage with HM The Queen to Buckingham Palace with the Household Cavalry providing a Sovereign's Escort.
Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan have accepted an invitation from Her Majesty The Queen to pay a State Visit to the United Kingdom.
Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress (Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako) will stay at Windsor Castle.
Exact dates and programme is still to be confirmed.
Guard of Honour and Official Welcome - Corner of St James's Park facing Horse Guards.
Carriage Procession: - The Mall or the Memorial Garden, near Queen Victoria Memorial
Gun Salutes - Green Park by Constitution Hill. Gun Wharf Tower of London.
Official Welcome - Datchet Road
Carriage Procession - Thames Street, High Street, Park Street, Cambridge Gate
The Procession enters the Castle, (which is closed to the public during a State Visit), through the George IV Gateway where the Honour Guard ceremony takes place.
Location: Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AX
The nearest tube stations are:
Charing Cross - About 6 minutes walk. Bakerloo, & Northern line
Embankment - 10 minutes walk. Bakerloo, Northern, District & Circle line
Busses: 11, 12, 159, 24, 3, 453, 53, 87, 88,
N109, N11, N136, N155, N2, N3, N381, N44, N87
Nearest, mainline, train station:
Charing Cross- About 6 minutes walk
Not recommended, Horse Guards Parade is in the congestion charge zone.
Parking is difficult to find and expensive.
The Visitor Oyster Card is the cheapest and most flexible way to travel around London.
Valid on London Underground, buses, trams and the Dockland Light Railway (DLR).
The London Travelcard gives you access to unlimited travel on London Underground trains, buses, Docklands Light Railway, trams and overland trains within London.
Windsor is 30 miles (50km) West of London.
From London you can get to Windsor from both Waterloo and Paddington stations.
Trains from Waterloo to Windsor & Eaton Riverside Station depart every half hour throughout the day, hourly on Sundays.
The journey takes about an hour and 20 minutes.
Windsor & Eton Riverside - About a 10 minutes walk.
Trains from Paddington to Windsor Central depart every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day.
The journey takes about 35 minutes. You have to change trains at Slough.
Greenline bus number 702 leaves from Victoria Colonnades, near London Victoria Coach Station every half hour, approximately, during the day. The journey takes about an hour.
Windsor is accessible via the major motorway networks of the M3, M4, M25 and M40
The journey time from London is approximately 40 minutes and Heathrow airport is about 15 minutes away.
Parking throughout Windsor is controlled and quite expensive.
Consider the Long Term parking if you are visiting Windsor Castle as a 20 minute walk saves about a third of the cost of short term parking in Windsor centre, most of which will be inaccessible due to road closures before and during the procession.
Another option is to use the Park and Ride services at Legoland Windsor or Windsor Home Park. Parking at Legoland is free.
Parking at Windsor Home Park is "pay and display". There is a small charge for bus fare.