Japanese airports are known for their cleanliness and clockwork efficiency, but the surge in tourists and foreign students entering the country has been creating hourlong lines at Narita airport's border control.

"It was a sight I'd never seen before at Narita airport," said Masahiro Morioka, a Waseda University professor who arrived late Sunday afternoon and witnessed a massive line snaking its way around the airport's hallways.

"The line went on forever, and it wasn't moving at all. The people in line looked evidently distressed," he said.