The New Year’s travel exodus peaked Thursday as people jammed airports and train stations for destinations in Japan and abroad.
On Thursday alone, around 50,000 people were expected to leave the country from Narita airport, 33,400 from Kansai airport in Osaka, and some 8,800 from Centrair Airport in the Chubu region around Nagoya, airport operators said.
“I want to photograph Hawaii’s beautiful scenery,” said 40-year-old Saitama resident Hikoichi Sekine before departing from Narita airport with his wife.
Congestion was also seen at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, where security lines stretched for about 30 meters.
At Kansai airport, Osakan Izumi Seguchi, 28, said she will visit Finland with a colleague and is looking forward to buying dishes and other items. “Going abroad is an opportunity to refresh myself because my job keeps me busy,” she said.
The nation’s train stations were meanwhile busy processing people heading to their hometowns and other destinations for the holidays.
Tokyo Station and other major stations were packed . According to Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai), the westbound Tokaido shinkansen were congested and some were filled over capacity.
At Tokyo Station, 27-year-old Tokyo resident Kazumi Mizuno said she is returning to her hometown in Miyagi Prefecture to give her parents a chance to meet her 7-month-old son. “I want to relax and spend a leisurely time there,” she said.
A 13-year-old junior high school student from Tokyo said he is visiting his grandmother in the city of Toyama with his father and sister. “I’m excited to visit hot springs,” he said. “I hope it will snow there.”