Metro government to extend hours of arts, sports facilities

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will move up or extend business hours at its arts and sports facilities this fall and winter to accommodate more diverse lifestyles.

“I believe the efforts will lead to increased consumption and revitalize the economy by supporting people’s various lifestyles, with working hours not limited to 9 to 5 anymore,” Gov. Naoki Inose said at a news conference.

He expressed hope that the move will spread throughout society.

Eight cultural institutions and nine sports facilities in the capital will change their business hours temporarily.

For example, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno Park will stay open 2½ hours later, until 8 p.m., between Oct. 31 and Nov. 3, coinciding with an illumination event in the park.

Rikugien, a Japanese garden in Bunkyo Ward, will stay open until 9 p.m., rather than 5 p.m., from Nov. 22 to Dec. 8, during which autumn foliage will be illuminated after nightfall.

Sports facilities subject to the change include the indoor swimming pool and gym at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in Shibuya Ward, which will open at 7 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. on weekdays running from next Tuesday to Oct. 31.

The tennis courts in Hibiya Park in Chiyoda Ward and Shiba Park in Minato Ward will stay open two hours longer, until 11 p.m., during the month of November.

No usage fees will be affected, officials said.

Tourism and transportation sectors are also subject to the move. The South Observatory, one of the two observation decks in the metropolitan government building in Shinjuku, will be open to the public at 7 a.m., 2½ hours earlier than normal, between Jan. 10 and Feb. 9.

The Tokyo Tourist Information Center, also located in the metropolitan government building, will stay open 4½ hours longer to 11 p.m. from November to the end of March.

The metropolitan government will also offer bus services once an hour between the Shibuya and Roppongi stations between around 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., starting sometime in December on a trial basis. The fare will be ¥400, the same as current late-night charges.