Holidaymakers' New Year exodus from Japan peaks

JAPAN NOW

The exodus of people spending the New Year's holidays abroad peaked at Japan's airports on Thursday, while train terminals were congested with people heading to their hometowns and other domestic destinations.

On Thursday alone, around 50,000 people are expected to leave the country from Narita airport near Tokyo, 33,400 from Osaka's Kansai airport, and some 8,800 from Chubu airport serving Nagoya, operators of the airports said.

"I want to photograph Hawaii's beautiful scenery," said Hikoichi Sekine, a 40-year-old company employee from Saitama city outside Tokyo, before departing from Narita airport to spend New Year's Day in Hawaii with his wife.

At Kansai airport, Izumi Seguchi, a 28-year-old company employee from Osaka city, said she will visit Finland with her colleague and is looking forward to buying dishes and other items that suit her taste. "Going abroad is an opportunity to refresh myself because my job keeps me busy," she said.

Tokyo Station and other major train stations were also jam-packed with travelers. According to Central Japan Railway, also known as JR Tokai, westbound Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains were congested, with some of them crammed to overcapacity.

At Tokyo Station, Kazumi Mizuno, a 27-year-old Tokyo resident, said she is returning to her hometown in Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan to show her 7-month-old son to her parents. "I want to relax and spend a leisurely time there," she said.

==Kyodo

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