A national garden in central Tokyo is attracting foreign tourists by allowing them to see illuminated cherry trees and traditional performing arts during nighttime hours.
Shinjuku Gyoen usually closes for the day at 6 p.m. But in response to requests from foreign visitors, it now opens between 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. for the five days from Sunday.
Foreign tourists and others streamed into the garden when its gate opened at 7 p.m. on the first day. They took photos in front of about 20 illuminated cherry trees in full bloom.
Visitors also relished the solemn atmosphere of Noh classical performances and minyo folk songs.
A 35-year-old visitor from Malaysia said the cherry blossoms were very beautiful and that his children also enjoyed them.
A 47-year-old tourist from Luxembourg said she is very glad to know about Japanese culture in the beautifully quiet environment.
Japan has been drawing a growing number of foreign visitors. But it faces the challenge of offering more nighttime sightseeing spots.
The Environment Ministry manages Shinjuku Gyoen. It says it plans to regularly reopen the garden at night after the current special period ends.