Travel across Tokyo border up over holiday weekend

Courtesy of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases
The omicron variant of the novel coronavirus is seen in an electron micrograph.

Undeterred by the latest state of emergency on the first of five consecutive holidays, the number of travelers moving across Tokyo’s prefectural borders with Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa was seen to increase on Saturday, compared to the corresponding date at the start of last year’s Golden Week holiday.

According to a mobile spatial statistics report compiled by NTT Docomo Inc., which estimates foot traffic based on smartphone location information, the flow of people traveling from Tokyo to its three neighboring prefectures between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday increased by margins ranging from 48% to 81%, compared to the same hourlong window at the start of Golden Week on May 2 last year, which coincided with the first state of emergency.

The number of people who visited Tokyo from the three prefectures was also observed to rise by between 50% and 67% compared to May 2 last year.

Compared to Saturday, April 24 —the day before the third state of emergency went into effect — travel into the capital from the three prefectures fell from between 24% to 27%.

But in the same week-on-week comparison, a slight uptick ranging from 4% to 10% was seen in the number of people leaving Tokyo for the three prefectures.

The government has urged people to stay home over Golden Week and refrain from taking pleasure trips, visiting family, or engaging in other “non-essential, non-urgent travel” in the interest of containing the spread of the novel coronavirus.