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Katsura Imperial Villa to allow more visitors, charge ¥1,000 from November

The Japan Times

The Katsura Imperial Villa, or Katsura-Rikyu, located in Kyoto and originally built as a holiday home for the Imperial family, will welcome more visitors from Nov. 1 at a charge of ¥1,000 for those aged 18 or older, the Imperial Household Agency said Tuesday. The maximum number of visitors will be raised to 480 -- more than double the current limit of 210. The number of one-hour tours conducted each day will increase fourfold from six to 24, with five being given in English. Currently, only those aged 18 or older can enter the villa, which was constructed in the 17th century and well-known for its beautiful Japanese garden. But from November, the age threshold will be lowered to 12. To cover expenses for the expanded operations, the agency will collect admission fees for the first time at properties it manages.


Tourists to get greater access to Kyoto Imperial Palace, 14 other sites

The Japan Times

In a bid to draw more tourists to Japan, the government says it will expand public access to more than a dozen state-owned facilities, including the Kyoto Imperial Palace, the Imperial Palace and the Bank of Japan. The move to increase public access to 15 designated facilities will be part of a new tourism strategy to be compiled this month by a panel headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and comprising ministers and tourism experts. The idea is to open Kyoto Imperial Palace in the ancient capital throughout the year, including on weekends. The palace, established in 1855, is open to the public twice a year -- five days in spring and another five in fall. At present, visitors to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo need to book ahead for tours offered only on weekdays.


Imperial Palace tour now available without prior reservation

The Japan Times

The Imperial Household Agency on Saturday introduced a same-day registration system for guided tours of parts of the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo so some visitors can gain entry without prior reservations. The measure was taken in line with the government's strategy to boost tourism as the nation aims to increase the annual number of overseas visitors to 40 million by 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Explanations and instructions by staff are currently given in Japanese only during the 75-minute tour. The agency said it is trying to prepare voice guidance in other languages. Under the new arrangements, the maximum number of visitors will be increased to 500 from 300 for each of the tours, with same-day registration available for 300 people, the agency said.


Imperial Palace tours to be made fully available in Chinese

The Japan Times

The Imperial Household Agency said Monday that it will start fully offering Chinese-language guided tours around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Thursday, in an addition to the existing Japanese and English tours. Responding to a rise in the number of foreign visitors to Japan, the agency started English tours around the palace in May. But given the fact that over a quarter of foreign visitors to the palace are from China, it launched dedicated tours for them on a trial basis the same month. Now that a sufficient number of guides are ready, Chinese guided tours can be made available fully, it said. While the course, length and dates of the tours will be the same as the Japanese tours, for participants who do not know Japanese history well the guides will devise ways to help them easily understand what they are seeing, the agency added.


Imperial Palace tours to be available in Chinese

The Japan Times

The Imperial Household Agency said Monday that it will fully start offering Chinese guided tours around the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Thursday, in an addition to the existing Japanese and English tours. Responding to a rise in the number of foreign visitors to Japan, the agency started English tours around the palace in May. But given the fact that over a quarter of foreign visitors to the palace are from China, it launched dedicated tours for them on a trial basis in the same month. Now that a sufficient number of guides are ready, Chinese guided tours can be made available fully, it said. While the course, length and dates of the tours will be the same as the Japanese tours, guides will devise ways to help participants who do not know Japanese history well easily understand what they are seeing, the agency added.