National

Long traffic jams and packed bullet trains: Travelers return to Tokyo after Golden Week

Kyodo

The rush of travelers returning to Tokyo from the extra-long Golden Week holiday grew Sunday, with traffic jams over 30 km long seen on some parts of expressways, and major airports and railway stations reporting massive crowds.

With people returning to work on Tuesday after the unprecedented 10-day national holiday, bullet trains were full of passengers.

Masafumi Mori, 38, a high school teacher in Kawasaki, arrived at Tokyo Station after volunteering in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, which was hit by major tsunami in March, 2011. He helped local workers pack seaweed.

“Shopping streets were full of people,” he said.

“I can take another day off this time, although I was exhausted after working” as a volunteer in the Tohoku region, he said.

Junta Ogata, 24, arrived at Narita airport after a trip to Europe with his girlfriend.

“I feel blue because I need to start working tomorrow,” he said with a wry smile.

Japan Road Traffic Information Center reported traffic jams of more than 30 km around the Takasaka rest area in Saitama Prefecture, and 20 km around Joban Kashiwa interchange in Chiba Prefecture.

“I refreshed myself by playing golf, but I immediately got exhausted after I was caught in a traffic jam,” said Osamu Oide, 55, of Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward.

This year’s holiday was specially extended to 10 days to celebrate the imperial succession. Emperor Naruhito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne on Wednesday, a day after his 85-year-old father became the first Japanese monarch in 202 years to abdicate.

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