Snow blanketed Kyoto on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

At least 3 dead as heavy snow and record cold hit Japan


Tourists reveled in wintry scenes across Japan on Wednesday, as much of the country was blanketed by snow in a cold snap that has killed at least three people and disrupted travel.

"These temperatures are some of the coldest we've seen in a decade," Japan Meteorological Agency official Takafumi Umeda told AFP.

Record lows were logged in several locations, including one area of southern Kumamoto, where the mercury hit -9 degrees Celsius, the coldest logged there since 1977 when that observation site began keeping track.

Top government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said one person had died in the cold snap, while meteorologists warned of blizzards, high waves and traffic snarl-ups due to icy roads.

Authorities were also investigating whether two other deaths were related to the freezing weather across much of the archipelago, Matsuno told reporters.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled due to the snowstorm, while delays and cancellations disrupted both local trains and long-distance Shinkansen services. Vehicles on major roads in several locations were left stranded, local media said.

At the seventh-century Zenkoji Temple in the mountainous region of Nagano, north of Tokyo, a chilly calm descended with trees, old-fashioned lamp posts and the place of worship itself covered in layers of powdery snow.

Visitors included some who were there for skiing but had been forced off the slopes by blizzard conditions.

"I came to ski, but the snow was incredibly heavy so I cut my plan short and instead decided to do a bit of sightseeing," 30-year-old Akiko Sotobori told AFP. "The blizzard (at the ski resort) was such that I couldn't see anything three meters ahead."

There were picturesque scenes in the former capital, tourist favorite Kyoto, where the shining walls of the famous Golden Pavilion contrasted with the temporary bright-white brilliance of its tiered roofs.

The country's Sea of Japan coast was hit hardest by the overnight blizzard, with Tokyo and its surrounding regions spared the snow but seeing unseasonably low temperatures.

© 2023 AFP

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Sorry to hear people actually passed away due to this freeze snap in Japan. R.I.P.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Sad to hear about the deaths from this terrible storm. As to Okinawa, there are many good reasons to choose Okinawa as the prefecture of residence. One reason is Definitely the climate due to not having any winter weather and the lowest temperature at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Okinawa seems like it is the safest regarding weather hazards.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Let us reduce our emission of CO2 because the world is warming up! LOL

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

baroque1888Today 09:30 am JST

Okinawa seems like it is the safest regarding weather hazards.

Lol, Okinawa is slap bang in middle of typhoon alley, so it's hardly 'the safest regarding weather hazards'.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Fine here in central Osaka, just rather cold at present.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Last night was -7ºC. Left a tap dripping.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

this is how global warming looks like/irony off/

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Can't drink flat beer anymore.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

More snow is predicted tonight and tomorrow. Looking like on of those Christmas cards from back home.

1 ( +3 / -2 )


Stay safe and keep warm mate. Still just cold here, nit seen any snow at all today

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Warming up in Hyogo.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


Overnight temperatures in Hyogo will be minus 3 and will remain cold in the coming week. More snow is expected.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Temyong - Let us reduce our emission of CO2 because the world is warming up! LOL

Eastman - this is how global warming looks like/irony off/

Do you also find the fact that melting ice cubes make your drinks colder to be this confusing?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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