Prince William kicks off his first visit to Japan with ceremonial tea

#PrinceWilliam touches down in Japan -- his first visit to the Asian island-nation

Konichiwa, Prince William! The Duke of Cambridge has landed in Japan. 

The second in line to the British throne kicked off his trip to the island-nation when he arrived in Tokyo on Thursday and is expected to spend about three days there before heading off for another three-day journey in mainland China to support the global GREAT campaign, which is meant to build British relationships in key markets, according to Kensington Palace.

William's wife Catherine, who is pregnant with their second, traveled with the prince to New York in December, sat this trip out as she awaits their baby's arrival in April.

This is Prince George's dad's first visit to Japan and the first by a senior member of the royal family since 2008  -- that's when Prince Charles last visited the country.

Upon landing a Haneda International Airport, the duke took a boat ride through a foggy Tokyo Harbor with British Ambassador Tim Hitchens and Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe, who showed him progress on sites being built for the 2020 Olympics.

From there, Wills visited Hama Rikyu Gardens, which the palace said is the same spot teenage emperor Meiji received Japan's first VIP foreign visitor Prince Alfred in 1869.

The duke, who recently passed his air transport pilot's license exams and will now work as an air ambulance pilot, was greeted by schoolchildren carrying Japanese and British flags waiting for a glimpse of the monarch-to-be. William met with a few of them and and strolled over a traditional Japanese bridge carrying an umbrella alongside the governor.

After that, they visited a restored 350-year-old, Edo-period tea house where the duke partook in a spot of tea -- ceremonial green tea to be exact -- served by a master in the art. The master also performed the ritual for Queen Elizabeth II and the duke's parents, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, the palace said.

William cupped his antique bowl with both hands, joking "I don't want to drop it."

On Friday, the prince is expected to visit a war cemetery then the trip will shift to British technology and innovation by launching the Innovation is GREAT campaign.

Among his numerous engagements, Wills will head northeast on Saturday to the Tohuku region to see the aftermath of and recover from the massive magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami that slammed the nation in 2011.

On Sunday, he'll head to the coastal city of Ishinomaki and meet with survivors of the tragedy, which killed 3,275 in that city alone. 

Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times