Japan's imperial palaces to be open to people

Tokyo  Japan's Imperial House said it will allow the public to visit the grounds of the palaces in Kyoto and Tokyo, the media reported on Monday. The house said it will open the palace compound in the ancient capital of Kyoto year-round instead only for five days each in the spring and fall, public broadcaster NHK reported. The palaces include buildings where enthronement ceremonies have taken place and the living quarters of emperors, and many valuable screen and wall paintings. The residence was used for about 540 years until 1868. At the current palace grounds in Tokyo, the bi-annual opening of the tree-lined Inui-dori avenue will be extended from five days to one week. The road is open to the public during the spring cherry blossom season and in the autumn when leaves turn colour. This year's spring viewing in Tokyo will start on March 25.