Strong cold winds blowing in from the continent sent temperatures across Japan plummeting Wednesday to their lowest yet this season, with the northern Hokkaido town of Utanobori recording temperatures of minus 33.1 degrees, according to the Meteorological Agency. Also in Hokkaido, the village of Otoineppu experienced temperatures of minus 32.1 degrees, while temperatures hit minus 24.2 in Obihiro and minus 21.4 in Kushiro, the coldest morning temperatures recorded so far this year, according to the agency. Daytime temperatures in Sapporo also continued to fall, hitting minus 12 at one point. Transportation in the region was affected by the weather, with the Dochu Expressway temporarily closed. Planes and trains, however, were not affected. The Tohoku and Kanto regions also experienced their coldest temperatures recorded so far this year, the agency reported. The thermometer slid to minus 7.5 degrees in the city of Aomori, while Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, recorded minus 11.3 degrees; Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, minus 5.2 degrees; Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, minus 5.5 degrees; Nagano minus 5.7 degrees; and Toyama minus 3.2 degrees. The temperature in Tokyo in the morning dropped to 1.2 degrees, the second coldest of the season after the 1.1 degrees recorded Saturday, the agency said. The Kinki region also had its share of chilly weather Wednesday, with snow blanketing Kyoto — the second fall of snow in the city this winter, Kyoto regional meteorological officials reported. Snowfall of 3 cm was recorded in Kyoto’s Nakagyo Ward, while the village of Miyama recorded a 27 cm fall. Amateur photographers were out in force at a number of the city’s sightseeing spots, such as Ginkakuji Temple, the golden roof of which was given a picturesque dusting of snow. The Tokaido Shinkansen Line temporarily experienced delays of one hour or more after snow kept bullet train speeds down to between 120 kph and 130 kph between Maibara and Shin-Osaka stations. A total of 14 trains were reported to have been affected. The Meteorological Agency forecast that the chilly weather will continue through this morning. It also forecast heavy snow for Hokkaido, the Sanin region of western Japan and northern Kyushu.
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