Heavy traffic with people returning home
NHK -- Jan 05
Transport and roads in Japan are crowded with people returning from new year holidays in their hometowns or abroad.

Japan Railway group companies say Shinkansen bullet trains bound for major cities are crowded all day Saturday. Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen lines are fully booked. Joetsu, Hokuriku, Tohoku, Hokkaido, Akita and Yamagata lines are also near-fully booked.

Airline officials say domestic flights departing for Tokyo or Osaka are almost full all day.

The Japan Road Traffic Information Center says expressways are already congested. At 11:a.m. vehicles heading for Nagoya were backed up for 19 kilometers at Kusatsu junction in Shiga Prefecture on the Meishin motorway.

Traffic officials say congestion will be heavier in the afternoon. They predict between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., traffic bound for Tokyo will be bumper-to-bumper for 35 kilometers starting at the Yamato tunnel in Kanagawa Prefecture on the Tomei Expressway.

Many families are flying back from overseas vacations. At Narita Airport outside of Tokyo the number of travelers is projected to peak on Saturday at more than 60,000.

Sunday will likely see big crowds again.

In western Japan, the operator of Kansai International Airport says traveler numbers will peak on Saturday and Sunday.

An estimated 40,000 people arrive at the airport daily.

The operator expects about 710,000 passengers on international flights to use the airport during the 10 days between December 27 and January 5.That's likely to be a new record for this season, for the seventh year in a row.

News source: NHK
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