The number of Japan Railways Group train seats booked for the Bon summer holiday period between Aug. 7 and 17 dived 79 percent from a year before, JR companies said Wednesday.
The weakness reflected falls in demand for travel amid a resurgence of novel coronavirus infections.
The number of seat reservations per day sank to the worst level since 1997, the start of the existing record, according to the six JR passenger service companies.
The number of reserved seats plunged 80 percent to 570,000 for shinkansen bullet trains and 76 percent to 180,000 for other trains.
Demand is expected to peak Aug. 8 for outbound trains and Aug. 16 for inbound trains, but there are still seats left, the companies said.
The government's "Go To Travel" incentivized tourism promotion campaign started Wednesday.
"It's still unclear how much impact (the campaign) will have, but we'll monitor further developments," said an official at East Japan Railway Co. , or JR East.
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