Japan's first-ever "Silver Week" — the result of three consecutive public holidays in September — kicked off Saturday with people crowding expressways, airports and train stations to get to resorts or their hometowns across the nation.
Expressways were congested from early morning. There was a 41-km traffic jam on the outbound lanes on the Tomei Expressway in Aichi Prefecture, and a 32-km traffic jam on the outbound part of the Chugoku Expressway in Hyogo Prefecture.
Domestic flights from Tokyo were mostly full, All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Corp. said. The airlines were running extra flights for Silver Week between Tokyo and Okinawa and between Tokyo and Sapporo.
Almost all reserved seats on Tokaido shinkansen line trains leaving Tokyo by around 2 p.m. had been booked. Seats on the outbound Tohoku, Joetsu and Nagano bullet train lines were fully reserved from morning through the evening.
This weekend will be followed by three straight public holidays. First up is Respect for Senior Citizens Day, which is observed each year on the third Monday of September, while Autumnal Equinox Day, which is astronomically determined but usually observed on Sept. 23, falls on Wednesday.
Tuesday became a vacation day by law because if there is only one nonholiday sandwiched between two public holidays, that day officially becomes an additional holiday.