Heavy snow hit wide areas along the Sea of Japan coast and western Japan from Tuesday through Wednesday, disrupting land and air traffic.
The Meteorological Agency repeated its heavy snowfall warning Wednesday for areas along the Sea of Japan coast, as a very cold air mass covered the archipelago.
Heavy snowfall may continue through today, the agency said, with storms raging in areas stretching from northern to western Japan. Light snow may hit Tokyo early this morning.
The coastal ski resort village of Myoko, Niigata Prefecture, recorded snowfall of 43 cm in the 12 hours to 5 p.m. Wednesday, bringing accumulated snowfall to 236 cm. In the village of Shirakawa in Gifu Prefecture, accumulated snowfall reached 165 cm as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The agency forecast up to 80 cm of snow in the Hokuriku region and northern parts of the Koshin and Tokai regions through this morning, and up to 60 cm in the Tohoku region, northern Kanto and Kinki regions, and in the Chugoku region.
Up to 40 cm of snow is forecast for Hokkaido, and up to 15 cm for Shikoku and Kyushu. Many traffic accidents triggered by snow were reported throughout the country, police said.
On the Hokuriku Expressway in Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture, one person was seriously hurt and six others slightly injured in a 38-car pileup just after 10 a.m. Wednesday, police said.
The injured were taken to a nearby hospital, they said. Police said 20 to 30 cm of snow had fallen in the area at the time of the accident. The highway was partly closed in both directions due to the accident and poor visibility due to heavy snow, police said.