Many parts of Japan, including Tokyo, saw their first snowfall of the new year Friday as a cold air mass moved in from the northeast.

Heavy falls are also expected Saturday and Sunday over a wide area of the archipelago facing the Sea of Japan from Hokkaido to the southern island of Kyushu.

The Japan Meteorological Agency on Friday morning issued an alert for snow and blizzards, saying a low-pressure system was expected to pass through the archipelago Saturday.

The pressure system was expected to push a cold air mass of minus 36 at an altitude of around 5,300 meters to the south Saturday night, covering central Honshu and northern Kyushu, according to the agency.

It was expected to bring the coldest air mass of the season to western and eastern Japan, and generate snowfall of as much as 40 cm on the Sea of Japan coast on Saturday, with intermittent snow expected Sunday, the agency said.

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