Japan’s busiest bullet train services were suspended for hours Wednesday due to heavy rain, frustrating travelers already affected by public transport disruptions after Typhoon Lan cut across the archipelago the previous day amid the summer holiday season.
The direct shinkansen services between the Tokyo and Hakata terminals was halted, with the impact of the suspension in the central prefecture of Shizuoka at around 8:30 a.m. spreading to other areas soon, the operators said.
The rain hit parts of Shizuoka, disrupting the Tokaido Shinkansen line connecting Tokyo and the cities of Yokohama, Nagoya and Osaka, according to its operator Central Japan Railway Co.
West Japan Railway Co., responsible for the western Japan portion of the direct services, resumed operations on the Sanyo Shinkansen line between Shin-Osaka and Hakata in Fukuoka Prefecture around 12:30 p.m.
JR Central took about two more hours before restarting Tokaido Shinkansen services between Shin-Osaka and Tokyo.
“I was planning to return to my hometown (in Osaka) on Monday but postponed it because of the typhoon. It is hot, and my child is tired,” said Chihiro Toyama, who was stranded at Nagoya station.
Typhoon Lan traveled northward over the Sea of Japan on Wednesday after bringing torrential rains mostly to western parts of Japan, disrupting train and airline services.
After the typhoon, warm and humid air flowed into Japan’s Pacific coast, with areas including Shizuoka exhibiting an unstable atmosphere, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
A departure board at JR Tokyo Station shows delays to shinkansen bullet train services on Aug. 16, 2023. (Kyodo)