Holiday return rush is on

Kyodo

The annual New Year’s return rush to Tokyo began Monday as travelers jammed trains, flights and expressways across the nation for the trip back from hometowns and other destinations sought out over the holidays.

The congestion is expected to peak Tuesday, because many companies will open for the first day of business on Wednesday.

Tokyo-bound bullet trains were packed Monday, with up to 90 percent of nonreserved seats on the Nozomi express occupied in the morning. Almost all seats available for reservations on the Tokaido and Tohoku Shinkansen lines were booked in the afternoon, railways said.

About 80 percent of domestic flights bound for Tokyo’s Haneda airport were booked Monday. As for domestic flights Tuesday, 93 percent of seats on Japan Airlines flights and 89 percent of seats on All Nippon Airways flights to Haneda had been reserved.

On the Tomei Expressway, a 13-km traffic jam was seen in the Tokyo-bound lanes near the Yoshida Interchange in Shizuoka Prefecture. Congestion on the highway is expected to worsen in the afternoon and on Tuesday, the Japan Road Traffic Information Center said.