Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a national treasure in western Japan, fully reopened Monday after a three-month closure due to the spread of the new coronavirus.
The city government of Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, is requesting visitors to wear a face mask, use hand sanitizer at the entrances and practice social distancing to lower the risk of infection while touring the popular tourist site.
"I heard about the reopening on the news. I hope tourists will return to Himeji Castle and revitalize the area," said Akiko Nagata, a 76-year old resident of Himeji.
After shutting down the operation on March 7 due to the pandemic, the castle, also known as "Egret Castle," partially reopened on May 28, accepting visitors to its outdoor facilities.
The popular indoor sites -- the main donjon and Nishinomaru Hyakken corridor -- reopened at 8:30 a.m. Monday, while the number of indoor visitors is still limited to about 400 per hour to avoid crowds and close contact, according to the local government.
The local government is also asking visitors to stay hydrated to avoid heat-related illnesses.