The Imperial Household Agency will start offering guided tours of the Imperial Palace in English from May 1 in response to the growing number of foreign visitors there.
The agency said it has received many requests for an English guided tour of the palace in central Tokyo, noting that last year foreigners accounted for nearly half of the visitors taking guided palace tours in Japanese.
From next month, visitors can now choose a guided tour of the imperial palace either in Japanese or English on the same day the tour is provided.
The tours are given twice a day — one in the morning and another in the afternoon — from Tuesday to Saturday, and the maximum number of participants per tour is 500.
During the guided 75-minute tour, participants will walk a course, with the points they can view including the East Gardens, the Seimon Tetsubashi Bridge and the Imperial Household Agency building.
Those who wish to take part in any tour can preregister online or send a request beforehand. A same-day registration system is also available.
The agency already offers a smartphone phone application providing a guided tour of the palace grounds in Japanese and five foreign languages including English and Chinese.