Extreme cold hits Japan

By Neal Baldwin
Home » Extreme cold hits Japan

A ‘once in a decade’ cold snap that has brought freezing temperatures and heavy snow to parts of Japan has paralysed travel across the country.

The icy blast, which swept in yesterday (Tuesday), has caused the cancellation of more than 500 domestic flights so far.

Record cold temperatures have been reported, with snow falling on the Sea of Japan coast stretching from the country’s north to west.  Snow, low visibility and strong winds mean flights have been hit at 21 domestic airports.

Capital Tokyo has so far escaped the worst of the weather. Despite sub-zero temperatures Tokyo International Airport continues to operate well and Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways say international services to and from the UK are unaffected.

However, Japan’s normally unbreakable rail service is struggling, with people stranded on carriages overnight in the Kyoto and Shiga prefectures in western Japan. Bullet train services have also been suspended or forced to run at slow speeds. In the western city of Maniwa, a record 93cm of snow fell in just 24 hours.

Matt Spiller, Trade Sales and Marketing Manager at specialist Inside Japan, said that despite the extreme conditions its customer support team were reporting minimal disruption to tours.

“The great thing about Japan is that the country is well-used to bad weather and everything still works. The good news is there will be loads of snow for the Sapporo Snow Festival in a couple of weeks!”

Japan’s weather agency has warned of further heavy snow in central areas, along with winds of up to 126kph potentially causing blizzard conditions. Disruption expected to last until the weekend.

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