Peak-hour delays caused such overcrowding that some commuters were unable to enter stations in the nation’s capital.
As weather forecasters had predicted earlier in the week, people in Japan’s Kanto region woke up to snow on 24 November, in a rare event for the area which had not seen snowfall in November for 54 years. As snow began to fall in central Tokyo at roughly 6:15 a.m., many early commuters in the city managed to make it to work without any major problems. However, just a couple of hours later, as the number of commuters began to surge, trains became delayed, causing major crowds and havoc for passengers around the city. Many people took their frustrations to Twitter, with photos showing just how crazy a rush-hour commute can be when just a light snow falls in the nation’s capital.
At Sangenjaya Station in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, people were restricted from entering the station due to the amount of people inside.
雪の影響で田園都市線 三軒茶屋駅改札に長蛇の列、、、。 https://t.co/ldK6tcxIgb—
小川 哲央 (@tetsuo_ogawa726) November 23, 2016
The congestion at Sangenjaya Station was due to significant delays on the Tokyu Denentoshi Line.
この程度でなぜこれ？？？w #三軒茶屋 #田園都市線 #遅延 #入場規制 https://t.co/a37pVhInxi—
Certy (@RVelonica) November 23, 2016
Not helping matters for commuters trying to get around the city was the fact that the Yamanote Line had stopped running, due to the combination of snow and a passenger illness.
くりはら(勉強しろ) (@kotomimicc) November 23, 2016
As one of the busiest lines in the city, crowds to board the Yamanote line extended all the way from station platforms to the area outside the ticket turnstiles.
まって山手線もやばめwwww これ改札入口だよ？？？？？？ https://t.co/IcI2IhR4xo—
あゆむ (@ayumumu666) November 23, 2016
Everything was brought to a standstill, with the line to board the train extending all the way up the stairs at a number of different stations on the line.
こちら山手線ホームでございます。 無事死亡。 https://t.co/q5Mw7wNqjV—
薮崎涼子(やぶ) (@FuRyoa11) November 23, 2016
真知子@女捨てる (@noise0510) November 24, 2016
The snow came as a result of an unusual cold front that covered the Tokyo area, causing temperatures to plummet to near zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). Train delays meant many commuters were waiting for up to an hour on station platforms in extremely cold weather.
ぷりな (@pupupu_box) November 23, 2016
Despite the long wait and inconvenience for commuters, people still managed to remain calm, lining up in orderly lines and patiently waiting their turn to board the train.
池袋 山手線北改札 新宿･渋谷･品川方面(内回り) 改札まで列きてて笑う https://t.co/lVbnQWYZWg—
ℳ.ルチャブル愛好会会長@ろりこ信者() (@rutyaburu) November 24, 2016
Once on board, though, commuters still had crowded carriages to contend with. According to this passenger on the Asakusa Line, which was also delayed, the morning subway journey was like “Extreme commuting”.
エクストリーム通勤 in 都営浅草線 https://t.co/1sT4E47yKA—
じょーえつ (@_fl_03a8winter_) November 23, 2016
Thankfully, rail services returned to normal by the afternoon, with the light snowfall stopping in Tokyo at roughly 3:30 p.m. Despite the inconvenience for commuters, in situations like these, as we’ve seen in the past, the patience and cooperation of the public is vital to ensuring the safety of all passengers. If you do find yourself in a crowded state of organised chaos like this in Japan, it’s always best to remain calm, follow the instructions of station staff, and vent your frustrations on Twitter, along with thousands of other Japanese commuters beside you.