Women in kimono walk amid heavy snow to attend a Coming-of-Age ceremony at Sanjusangendo Hall in Kyoto on Sunday. | KYODO
A wide swath of the Sea of Japan coast was hit by heavy snow Sunday as a strong wintry air mass gripped much of the Japanese archipelago, snarling traffic and hampering the unified university entrance exams.
The Meteorological Agency warned that the snow would continue and be accompanied by blizzards, disrupting traffic mainly along Sea of Japan coastal areas stretching from northern to western Japan through Monday.
All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines canceled 56 and 12 flights, respectively, due to snow and strong winds, affecting over 3,100 passengers.
Bullet trains on some sections of the Tokaido and Sanyo shinkansen lines were forced to reduce speed, Central Japan Railway Co. and West Japan Railway Co. said.
Weather-induced chaos also forced the operator of the unified entrance exam for national and public universities to delay the start of the day’s testing by an hour at 12 venues in Aichi, Mie, Kyoto, Hyogo and Hiroshima prefectures. The test is also used by certain private universities.
This year saw 575,967 students apply for the exam, 12,000 more than last year.
Strong winds were forecast across much of northern and western Japan, while high waves were expected in some offshore areas.
At Sanjusangendo Hall in Kyoto, about 2,000 young adults who turn 20 this year participated in a traditional Coming-of-Age ceremony amid heavy snow, where they shot arrows at targets 60 meters away.
“The snow is very beautiful, but I couldn’t shoot the arrow as usual because it’s too cold,” said participant Akari Tsuyama, a 20-year-old student at Doshiha University in Kyoto.
The mercury plunged below zero in a number of areas nationwide, including in Oshu, Iwate Prefecture, which matched its record-low of minus 16.5 degrees.
Downtown Tokyo logged minus 2.3, while Nagoya plummeted to minus 3.6 and Osaka fell to minus 0.6.
In Tohoku, up to 2.56 meters of snow had fallen in the city of Aomori by Sunday morning, while the village of village of Okura, Yamagata Prefecture, was blanketed by 2.41 meters.
The town of Tsunan, Niigata Prefecture, had reported 1.75 meters of snowfall by Sunday morning.
Up to 80 cm of snow was forecast for the 24-hour period through 6 a.m. Monday in the Hokuriku area and the Kanto-Koshin area, while 70 cm was forecast for Tohoku and 60 cm in the Tokai region and in Hokkaido.
The Chugoku and Kinki regions were expected to see up to 50 cm and 40 cm of accumulation, respectively.
Courtesy of japantimes.co.jp