National

Tokyo's Shinjuku Gyoen National Park to start selling tickets online

Kyodo

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks, will start selling entrance tickets online later this week ahead of next year’s Olympics with an eye on cutting queuing times, the government said Tuesday.

With tickets currently only available at park gates, waiting times can be more than an hour during busy periods such as the cherry blossom-viewing season in spring.

Starting Thursday, visitors will be able to buy tickets online with credit cards from private vendor Asoview and enter the park using the QR codes sent to them. The park’s general admissions fee is ¥500.

From late February next year, the park will also offer a cashless payment service at the gate on a trial basis, allowing visitors to use credit cards, e-money cards such as the Suica prepaid card or smartphone-based payments using QR codes.

The cashless payment service will be fully introduced in early fiscal 2020, starting next April, if demand is deemed to exist during the trial period of two to three weeks, the government said.

The government has been attempting to promote cashless transactions in Japan, which lags behind other countries such as China and South Korea in its use of the technology.

Facilities directly managed by the state and municipal governments have so far been reluctant to see their revenues reduced by fees to settlement companies when payments are made using credit cards or e-money.