The Government Guesthouse at the Akasaka Imperial Estate in Minato Ward, Tokyo, opened to members of the public Friday morning for a two-week trial ahead of an extended opening from April.
The complex is often used for accommodation and as a meeting space for visiting heads of state and guests of similar standing.
Officially named the State Guesthouse, Akasaka Palace, it is normally opened for 10 days each summer. But this year's extended opening is part of ongoing efforts to boost tourism in Japan and attract more visitors from overseas.
The government plans to monitor visitor numbers during the trial run and make necessary changes before the neo-baroque building opens to the public year-round.
The main building, vestibule and Japanese-style annex will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day until Feb. 18.
A pilgrimage route stretching across Shikoku Island, one of Japan's four main islands, has been recently attracting more foreign visitors with various cultural and religious backgrounds with its unique charms. (Japan Today)
On their travels across Japan, many people skip right by Nagoya, which is kind of a shame. Sure, the capital of Aichi Prefecture may not be able to match the limitless variety of Tokyo or the historical pedigree of Kyoto, but Nagoya has its own set of attractions, such as a beautiful castle and the best chicken wings in the country. (rocketnews24.com)
The estimated number of visitors to Japan in April jumped 18.0 percent from a year earlier to 2,081,800, breaking the record high of 2,009,500 set in the previous month, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Wednesday. (the-japan-news.com)