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Thursday, 8th January 2015
In Japan Travel News,

Weak yen sparked holiday rush, airlines say

A rush in visitors to Japan that brought transport hubs to a standstill over Christmas and New Year was inspired by a weak yen, key players in the tourist industry say, as thousands of people booked last-minute flights to the country for the holiday season.

This is according to Japan Airlines and ANA Holdings Inc's All Nippon Airways, both of which registered upticks of around 13 per cent in passenger numbers during the period from December 19th until January 3rd.

The companies added that they saw a marked increase in particular from visitors coming from neighbouring countries including China, Thailand and Malaysia. Passengers travelling from Japan were commonly destined for southeast Asia and Europe.

Separately, six Japan Railways group companies reported that an extraordinary 12.24 million people travelled on the country's Shinkansen bullet trains and limited express trains from December 26th through to the New Year - a rise of two per cent.

Both the Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen lines saw marked increases, which tourist officials say was down to the fact they both serve mountainous areas that are home to a number of ski resorts.

Meanwhile, the Tokaido Shinkansen Line also saw increased usage thanks to an increase in the number of train services from last year.

However, although the number of people using Japan's public services is on the increase, the holiday rush on the motorways actually shrank, with fewer people on the roads than in 2013.

Travel authorities said that only 35,000 vehicles per day on average were recorded using the motorway segments during the period between Christmas and New Year, but emphasised that heavy snowfall that resulted in road closures in central and western Japan may have impacted upon these figures.