National

Vacation exodus during Bon holidays peaks, with long traffic jams

Kyodo

The annual rush of travelers during the country’s mid-August Bon holidays peaked Wednesday, with roads, train stations and airports congested as people headed for their hometowns and other destinations.

Bumper-to-bumper traffic stretched 47 km along a section of the Kan-etsu Expressway in Saitama Prefecture at 9 a.m., while vehicles were backed up for 42 km on the Tohoku Expressway in Tochigi Prefecture.

Domestic flights with All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines were nearly fully booked from Haneda Airport in the morning. Around 41,000 people and 15,000 people were expected to leave Narita Airport and Haneda, respectively, for overseas destinations on Wednesday.

Shinkansen leaving Tokyo were also packed, and some were overcapacity.

“I want to relax in cooler Aomori and play with my cousin,” said Ryota Oshikawa, 13, who was at Tokyo Station to head to his mother’s hometown in the city of Aomori.

In western Japan, major expressways, railway stations and airports were also packed with people, with vehicles backed up for 28 km along expressways in Osaka and Hyogo prefectures.

At Kansai Airport in Osaka, 23,400 people were expected to leave for overseas destinations on Wednesday, according to the airport operator.

The return rush in the Bon holiday period is expected to reach its peak on Saturday and Sunday.