Passengers on shinkansen and other Japan Railways Group express trains during this year's Golden Week holiday period returned to 94% of the 2018 level, data showed Monday.

The combined passenger number in the period between April 28 and Sunday totaled about 11,000,000 for 46 train line sections operated by the six JR Group passenger service companies. The total was 1.32 times higher than the previous year.

All six companies saw their figures increase from the previous year, sending the total to the seventh-highest level since the start of the data in 1990.

East Japan Railway, or JR East, logged the largest year-on-year growth, with the total being 1.4 times higher at about 3,785,000 passengers. The number of passengers at Central Japan Railway, or JR Tokai, returned to the 2018 level.

According to JR Group officials, people who had refrained from going out seem to have felt safer about traveling by train, as the government was about to lower the legal classification of COVID-19, which went ahead on Monday.

A powerful earthquake that hit the Noto region caused West Japan Railway to cancel four Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet trains Friday. An official said the quake had little impact on the number of passengers, however.

Also on Monday, four expressway operators said the number of vehicles that used 40 sections of expressways they operate averaged 42,000 per day during the Golden Week period, rising 6% from the previous year to reach 81% of the 2019 level.

Traffic jams of 10 kilometers or more occurred 285 times, almost unchanged from 284 in 2022.