• Kyodo

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The Imperial Household Agency will start offering guided tours of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in English from May 1 in response to the ongoing growth in tourism.

The agency on Thursday said it has received many requests for English tours, noting that foreign people last year accounted for nearly half of the visitors who were taking the guided tours in Japanese.

The tours will be given twice a day — in the morning and in the afternoon — from Tuesday to Saturday. The maximum number of participants per tour is 500, and visitors will be able to choose tours in either language.

During the 75-minute tour, participants can view the East Gardens, the Seimon Tetsubashi bridge and the Imperial Household Agency building, among other sites.

Those who wish to take part can preregister online or send a request beforehand. Same-day registration is also available.

The agency also offers a smartphone app that provides a guided tour of the palace grounds in Japanese and five other languages, including English and Chinese.

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