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Online tour of Kyoto's Nijo Castle to be held May 17 with footage of off-limits areas

A hall of Nijo Castle's Ninomaru-goten Palace is seen. (Photo courtesy of the castle office)
This file photo taken on Oct. 1, 2010 shows Nijo Castle's Ninomaru-goten Palace. (Mainichi/Yusuke Tanabe)

KYOTO -- A paid livestreamed tour of Nijo Castle in Japan's ancient capital of Kyoto will be held on May 17 for the first time as the facility remains closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The tour will guide viewers through the interior of the Higashi Ote-mon gate and the Tonan Sumi-yagura watchtower, which are usually closed to the public.

At the Ninomaru-goten Palace on the castle grounds, visitors can normally only peer into the room where the shogun would sit from the corridor, but in the online tour, they will be able enjoy a view from the shogun's seat.

The tour is being jointly organized by the castle office and Maimai Kyoto, a local group that offers various paid tours. A castle office representative commented, "We hope people who can't travel here will enjoy it."

The tour is scheduled to be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on May 17. People wishing to join should apply via the website below and pay 2,000 yen by May 16 Japan time. Participants can watch the video for a week. For inquiries, call the operator on 090-8535-8204 (in Japanese).

(Japanese original by Hiroshi Odanaka, Kyoto Bureau)

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