The occasion was too good: while everyone Japan is facing strong drops of snow, also causing disruptions in transport, passers-by and tourists take the opportunity to immortalize in photos temples and shrines covered in white. The scene was the same at Zenkoji Temple, in the city of Nagano, in the heart of the Japanese Alps in the center of the country, and at Kyotothe former imperial capital with a rich historical heritage.
“I had come to ski, but the snow was so thick that I changed my program and decided instead to go do some sightseeing” in town, says Akiko Sotobori, a tourist in Nagano. At the ski resort, “the blizzard was such that I couldn’t see anything three meters away,” she said. The capital Tokyo and its greater suburbs, however, were spared by the snow, while experiencing stronger than usual cold.
“These temperatures are among coldest seen in a decade said Takafumi Umeda, an official with the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). The agency warned of the risk of blizzards, high waves on the coasts and ice on the roads.
According to government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno, one person died in the country due to the severe cold snap, and authorities were also investigating two other deaths potentially related to the weather. Hundreds of flights have been canceled due to snowstorms, and trains have also been delayed or cancelled, including on high-speed lines. Traffic jams on the roads were also numerous.