Shinkansen, express train users hit record low during Golden Week

The number of passengers on shinkansen and other express trains during the recent Golden Week holiday in Japan plummeted to a record low amid the coronavirus crisis, traffic data showed Thursday.

The six passenger service companies of the Japan Railways Group said that a total of 916,000 people used shinkansen and other express train services between April 24 and Wednesday, down 95 percent from a year earlier.

The figure hit a record low for the holiday period since data collection started in 1990, as authorities across the country requested people to stay at home to contain the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Passenger numbers dropped 97 percent for the Akita and Yamagata shinkansen lines, 95 percent for the Tohoku and Sanyo shinkansen lines and 94 percent for the Tokaido Shinkansen line.

The number of passengers on the Narita express linking Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture and the metropolitan area plunged 99 percent due to fewer travelers amid tightened border controls.

Meanwhile, tourist destinations in the country saw reduced visitor numbers on the last day of the holiday period, according to foot traffic information provided by mobile carrier KDDI Corp., which was obtained mainly from smartphone location information analysis.

At 3 p.m. on Wednesday, foot traffic was down 95.8 percent from the average for last year’s Golden Week at the Grand Shrines of Ise in Mie Prefecture.

Pedestrian numbers dropped 94.6 percent at Karuizawa Station in Nagano Prefecture, 89.2 percent at Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Hyogo Prefecture, 74.8 percent at the Kaminarimon entrance gate of Sensoji temple in Tokyo, 70.1 percent at areas in front of Hakodate Station in Hokkaido and 65.2 percent at the hot spring resort of Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture.

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