The large turnout of foreign heads of state is seen as a tribute to Japan's emergence as an economic superpower.
Great care has been taken in making sure foreign guests to the funeral dress properly. The Foreign Ministry advised all male dignitaries to wear morning coats, except in cases where native dress is preferred.Journalists have been advised they must dress in black suits, black ties and dark overcoats if they want to be allowed into the funeral.
The new emperor, 55-year-old Akihito, spent the day greeting foreign dignitaries. Akihito's son and heir, Crown Prince Naruhito, turned 29 Thursday but did not celebrate the occasion because the family is still in mourning.
Here are the main events for the funeral:
-7:30 a.m. (3:30 p.m. MST Thursday) - Ceremony of farewell at Imperial Palace with imperial family relatives.
-9 a.m. (5 p.m. MST) - Coffin is placed in the hearse.
-9:30 a.m. (5:30 p.m. MST) - Procession by motorcade from palace to funeral site at Shinjuku Imperial Gardens, passing through front gates of Parliament building along the way.
-10:15 a.m. (6:15 p.m. MST) - Motorcade arrives at funeral site.
-10:31 a.m. (6:31 p.m. MST) - Coffin moved from hearse to bier, procession on foot to funeral hall.
-10:40 a.m. (6:40 p.m. MST) - Procession arrives at funeral hall and drapes are closed to separate the hall from funeral guests, assembled in two long tents facing the hall, while the coffin is placed in the hall.
-10:53 a.m. (6:53 p.m. MST) - 47 minute imperial ceremony begins in which offerings of food and silk cloth are made to the late emperor. His son and successor, Emperor Akihito, reads a eulogy.
-11:40 a.m. (7:40 p.m. MST) - Offerings are removed and ceremony ends; drapes are closed and religious decorations removed.
-11:58 a.m. (7:58 p.m. MST) - Drapes open and Chief Cabinet Secretary Keizo Obuchi announces start of 67-minute state funeral and observance of silence for one minute; Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita and others to read eulogies; foreign dignitaries walk up individually to pay last respects.
-1:31 p.m. (9:31 p.m. MST) - Coffin is moved to hearse.
-1:40 p.m. (9:40 p.m. MST) - Motorcade leaves funeral site for imperial mauseleum in Hachioji, a western suburb of Tokyo.
-3:35 p.m. (11:35 p.m. Friday MST) - Procession arrives at mausoleum, and after a ceremony the coffin is placed in the tomb. The ceremony adjourns for three hours while the grave is closed.
-7:20 p.m. (3:20 a.m. MST) - Final ceremony is held with offerings of food; ends at 8:50 p.m. (4:50 a.m. MST).