The Imperial Palace Outer Gardens are lit up. (Video footage by Kenji Notsu, Tatsuya Shimada and Kazuyoshi Sako)

The outer gardens of the Imperial Palace, normally shrouded in darkness at night, are being lit up in a new government initiative.

Formally known as Kokyogaien National Gardens, the area comprises the famed Sakurada-mon Gate, stone walls and trees.

Officials said 2,000 or so lights were set up to create a mesmerizing scene for people passing near the palace area from sunset to 9 p.m.

The Imperial Palace's historic Nijubashi bridge, turrets and other structures are also being illuminated daily from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Jan. 6.