National

Bon summer holiday exodus peaks across Japan

Kyodo

The annual rush of travelers during Japan’s Bon summer holidays peaked Wednesday, with roads, railway stations and airports packed with people headed for their hometowns and abroad.

According to Japan Railway group companies, reserved seats on the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains connecting Tokyo and Osaka were almost fully booked in the morning while all unreserved seats were taken on some bullet trains of the Tokaido, Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen lines.

Following an incident on a Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train in June in which a man committed suicide by setting himself on fire, also causing the death of another passenger, JR group companies are beefing up security patrols in railway stations and inside the trains.

Domestic flights departing from Tokyo’s Haneda airport in the morning were more than 97 percent booked for both Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, and planes to Sapporo and Fukuoka were nearly filled up until the evening.

On international flights, approximately 43,000 travelers will be flying out of Narita airport near Tokyo with nearly 20,000 leaving Haneda on Wednesday alone, according to the airports.

Vehicles were backed up for 45 kilometers on a section of the Kan-etsu expressway in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, in the morning while a 38-km backup was observed on part of the Tohoku expressway in Tochigi Prefecture, the Japan Road Traffic Information Center said.

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