• Kyodo


A normally restricted section of the Imperial Palace compound in Tokyo opened to the public on Saturday, allowing visitors to admire the blooming cherry trees there for the first time since 2016.

About 3,700 people lined up for their chance to walk along 750-meter Inui Street, which runs from the Sakashita Gate to the Inui Gate. The section is open to visitors through April 1 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Public access to the street is normally permitted just twice a year: during the cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons. But it was closed from spring 2016 to fall 2017 to allow for maintenance work to be carried out on the trees.

The palace drew an estimated 500,000 visitors over 10 days during the cherry blossom-viewing season in spring 2016.