An unprecedented 10-day Golden Week holiday started Saturday ahead of the Imperial succession, with bullet train stations, airports and expressways crowded with travelers heading to their hometowns, major cities and overseas destinations.

From the morning, there were long lines at check-in and luggage drop counters at Tokyo's Haneda airport as the rush of travelers leaving the capital during the holiday peaked, while the occupancy rate of nonreserved cars of many bullet trains topped 100 percent.

With Emperor Akihito's abdication set on April 30 and the ascent of Crown Prince Naruhito the following day, areas around the Imperial Palace, where related ceremonies will be held — and other popular spots in Japan — attracted a wave of tourists.