Photo/Illutration For the first time in three years, Inui Street within the Imperial Palace grounds is open to the public to take in the autumn foliage. (Sayuri Ide)

A small section inside the Imperial Palace grounds was opened to the public Nov. 26 for the first time in three years to allow visitors to appreciate the changing autumn foliage.

The tree-lined thoroughfare stretches for about 600 meters in a north-south direction and is called Inui Street.

It was last open to the public in 2019, before the novel coronavirus pandemic hit.

Rain did not stop a crowd of visitors from enjoying the changing colors and taking photos. The event will continue until Dec. 4. The street is open between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., with the final exit at 3:30 p.m.

Visitors were required to have their temperatures checked before entering the grounds and wear face masks as well as disinfect their hands.

The first person in line came from neighboring Chiba Prefecture, having arrived the night before and took 99 photos.

Visitors came from far and wide, including a 63-year-old man from Yamagata city in northern Japan. He was accompanied by his son who lives in Tokyo.

“The colors were still a little early but it was nonetheless a spectacular sight,” the Yamagata resident said.