One of Japan's largest beer gardens opened Friday at a park in the city of Sapporo in the country's north, but the event has been scaled down due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

This year's event, called "Mini Beer Garden" due to its reduced capacity from about 13,000 seats annually to only about 250 seats, welcomed visitors who had pre-booked tickets to avoid crowding as a measure against the virus.

The event at Odori Park in central Sapporo on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, a popular tourist destination, had been canceled in April amid an increase in infections.

(Visitors enjoy their drinks at "Mini Beer Garden" at Odori Park in central Sapporo, with transparent acrylic boards set up between them to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, on July 31, 2020. (Kyodo)

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But, organizers later decided to open the beer garden and will use it as a test case for holding events amid a "new normal" brought about by the virus outbreak.

"I am so happy that the event was held this year because I have been looking forward to it every year," said Yuko Suzuki, 40, a self-employed worker.

"The beer tastes good, especially under fine weather like this," said Suzuki, who visited the beer garden with her friend.

The organizer requires all visitors to purchase tickets in advance as part of its efforts to keep crowding to a minimum. Other countermeasures, such as disinfecting thoroughly every time visitors leave, will also be taken.

The beer garden will run until Aug. 16.