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Typhoon Lan lands in western Japan, causes holiday travel chaos

Slow-moving Typhoon Lan made landfall on the Kii Peninsula in western Japan on Tuesday, bringing heavy rainfall, disrupting air, road and train services and causing havoc for domestic and international travelers during the summer holidays.

Around 650 people were forced to stay overnight at Kansai airport, located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay, after rail and road access was cut off by to the typhoon. Many people had to sleep in the airport’s lobby, and the facility operator handed out sleeping bags and water to those stranded there.

A person walks with an umbrella during a downpour in Tanabe in Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, on Aug. 15, 2023, as Typhoon Lan hit the region. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

A weary-looking 65-year-old woman from Taiwan said, “I hadn’t expected something like this.”

A 22-year-old university student from Okinawa, who said he gave up on his hopes of sightseeing in Kyoto, complained that it was cold overnight at the airport due to the strong air conditioning.

Major shinkansen stations like JR Shin-Osaka Station, which would usually be packed with holidaymakers during the annual Bon summer holidays, were mostly deserted.

The typhoon lashed some western Japan areas with heavy rain, with precipitation of 304.0 millimeters logged over a 6-hour period in Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Prefecture, and 190.0 mm in Ayabe, Kyoto Prefecture.

Photo taken on Aug. 15, 2023, at JR Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka, western Japan, shows an information display notifying of the cancellation of shinkansen bullet train services between Nagoya and Okayama due to Typhoon Lan that hit the region. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The weather agency continued to warn of heavy rainfall in eastern, central and western Japan and urged residents to stay alert for possible dangerous flooding, landslides and strong winds.

Central Japan Railway Co. and West Japan Railway Co. canceled all bullet train services between Nagoya and Shin-Osaka stations and those between Shin-Osaka and Okayama stations throughout Tuesday.

Expressway operators have partially closed networks in areas likely to be impacted by the typhoon, while Japan Airlines Co. and All Nippon Airways Co. canceled over 560 flights mostly departing and arriving in western Japan, affecting more than 50,000 passengers.

JR Shin-Osaka Station is empty in Osaka, western Japan, on Aug. 15, 2023, with shinkansen bullet train services canceled as Typhoon Lan hits the region. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Universal Studios Japan’s popular theme park in Osaka closed Tuesday and four summer high school baseball championship games were canceled at Koshien Stadium in Hyogo Prefecture near Osaka and were rescheduled to Wednesday.

The typhoon, which made landfall shortly before 5 a.m., was moving in a northwesterly direction near the city of Wakayama as of 10 a.m., the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

It had an atmospheric pressure of 985 hectopascals with winds of up to 144 kilometers per hour.

Related coverage:

Trains, flights on Aug. 15 canceled as Typhoon Lan heads to western Japan

Western, central Japan brace as Typhoon Lan to make landfall Aug. 15

Typhoon brings heavy rainfall to Japan’s southwest as another nears

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