The New Year holiday exodus from Tokyo and other cities began on Friday, with vacationers crowding train stations, airports and expressways.
JR East, JR West and JR Tokai all reported load factors of 120-190% and said reserved seats on shinkansen trains are fully booked for Saturday and Sunday. JR West said strong winds delayed services for about 40 minutes on Friday morning.
Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways said flights from Haneda and Narita airports were about 90% full on Friday. Around 53,000 people are expected to depart from Narita airport, 33,000 from Osaka's Kansai airport, and about 8,000 from Chubu airport in Nagoya by Friday night, the airlines said.
Travel agents and airlines said about 880,000 people are estimated to depart and return to Japan by plane between Friday and Jan 3. Travel agents said the most popular destinations this year are Hawaii, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Cebu in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, traffic was moving smoothly on outbound expressways from Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya early Friday afternoon, the Japan Road Traffic Information Center reported. Traffic was backed up for about 16 kilometers on the Tomei Expressway at noon, the center said.
The return rush is expected to peak on Jan 3.© Japan Today