• Kyodo

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The Kyoto State Guesthouse opened to the public on Thursday, marking the start of year-round access to the luxurious facility that is used to host foreign heads of state and other government guests.

The Japanese-style complex, which features ikebana, giant tapestries and other traditional art in its banquet hall and other reception rooms, used to open its doors to tourists for only about 10 days a year.

Expanding access to the guesthouse is part of the government’s tourism push.

The facility, established in 2005 on the grounds of the city’s Imperial garden, will be open every day except Wednesdays until Aug. 28, with a maximum of 2,000 visitors admitted per day.

After an interlude to entertain a foreign dignitary, public access will resume according to the same schedule from Sept. 8 to 27, but with a maximum of only 750 people admitted daily for 60-minute guided tours.

Organizers plan to reserve the month of September for guided tours, while allowing a higher volume of visitors to tour the grounds independently during busier months.

Entry currently costs ¥1,000 (just under $10) for adults and ¥500 for students, with children younger than junior high school age not allowed entry. A price hike is expected for September.

The schedule after Sept. 27 has yet to be announced, pending future visits by foreign dignitaries.

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