The Golden Week holiday exodus began Saturday as travelers crowded Narita airport near Tokyo and Kansai International Airport near Osaka.
Some workers are spending up to 16 consecutive days on Golden Week this year to take advantage of a string of other public holidays coinciding with the traditional holiday period that will make it easier to take time off.
The number of overseas flights booked from Narita airport hit about 40,000 for Saturday only.
Takeshi Kosugi, a 35-year-old salaried worker from Toyama, said at Narita airport that he and his family of four will be touring Belgium and the Netherlands through May 6.
Tsugunari Kato, a 41-year-old welder from Osaka, said that he was taking nine days off to surf in Bali, Indonesia, because the recession has reduced demand for welding and given him more free time.
The exodus at Kansai airport, meanwhile, is expected to peak at around 19,000 travelers next Saturday.
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