Vacationers jammed railway stations and airports Sunday as they started returning home ahead of the end of the Golden Week holiday period through Monday.
There were vacant seats on the Tokyo-bound Tokaido Shinkansen in the morning, but they were nearly booked solid in the afternoon, according to Central Japan Railway Co.
Most domestic flights to Tokyo were fully booked throughout the day, forcing travelers to wait in line as standby passengers at some airports, airport officials said.
Drivers making day trips crowded outbound lanes on highways in the morning, and inbound lanes started to get jammed in the afternoon, Japan Highway Public Corp. said.
At New Tokyo International Airport in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, some 46,000 travelers were expected to return from their overseas holidays Sunday, with 50,000 more to arrive Monday, airport officials said.
Naomi Ito, a 55-year-old housewife from Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, was just back from Lombok Island off Indonesia. “I enjoyed scuba and skin diving there,” she said. “The ocean was an incredibly beautiful transparent emerald green.”
At Kansai International Airport, sunburned families loaded down with all the souvenirs they could carry were among those returning Sunday. Immigration authorities said nearly 18,000 people returned through the airport.
Tourism has yet to fully rebound from the slowdown following the terrorist attacks on the United States last September. The number of visitors to Hawaii was 20 percent off compared with last year’s Golden Week holidays.
But that was fine with some travelers.
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