Fewer travelers returning to hometowns for New Year holidays

Japan Today -- Dec 26
Japanese airports and train stations on Saturday started seeing some lines of travelers heading to their hometowns or other places for the year-end and New Year holidays, but there was less crowding than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Given that the government has decided to suspend its travel subsidy program and requested people to stay at home as much as possible to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus, reservations for the festive season are at low levels, according to airlines and train operators.

Still, there were many travelers going through security checks at Tokyo's Haneda airport, with announcements reminding passengers to take precautions against the virus.

"I haven't seen this many people since the spread of the virus began, although it's still a fraction of what it was in other years," said a woman working at a souvenir shop in a departure hall.

"We will spend some quiet time in my hometown," said Takako Kamata, a resident of Tsukuba near Tokyo, who was on her way to visit relatives in Okinawa. "Our kids are also excited because they could not go back there this summer."

The area for domestic flights at Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture was filled with travelers wearing face masks, in stark contrast with its departure lobby for international flights, which remained very quiet.

- Japan Today