Seat Reservations on Shinkansen, Other JR Lines up 16% for Golden Week; Pandemic Drop in Ridership Disappears

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A Hokuriku Shinkansen train arrives at JR Tsuruga Station, Fukui Prefecture, on March 16.

Seat reservations on Shinkansen and other JR lines during the Golden Week holiday were up 16% as of Wednesday from a year ago, bringing the total to 2.96 million seats, the six Japan Railways companies announced Thursday.

The figure was 7.2% higher than in 2018, meaning this year has seen an end to the pandemic’s drag on ridership.

This will be the first Golden Week after COVID-19 was downgraded to a Category V infectious disease. The holiday runs from April 26 to May 6 this year.

Crowds are expected to peak on May 3 for trains leaving the Tokyo area, and May 6 for those returning to the Tokyo area.