Narita Airport bustles as holidaymakers leave Japan with coronavirus measures eased

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Holidaymakers crowd the departure lobby at Narita Airport in Chiba Prefecture on Wednesday.

NARITA, Chiba Prefecture — Congestion at Narita Airport in Chiba Prefecture reached its peak on Wednesday as travelers left Japan to spend the year-end and New Year holidays abroad.

Crowds of people toting large baggage were seen in the departure lobby for the first time in three years thanks to the relaxation of border control measures against the coronavirus in October.

Narita International Airport Corp. estimates that 310,300 people will depart on international flights from the airport between Friday and Jan. 5, about 10.7 times the level a year earlier.

However, the number is only about 45% of the figure for fiscal 2019, shortly before the pandemic began.

“I’m so glad to finally be able to go abroad,” said a 22-year-old university student who lives in Tokyo and was traveling to South Korea. “I’ll indulge myself with the trip as I’ve been waiting for it for so long.”