The unusual weather conditions caused major disruptions around the metropolis.

With Japan boasting some of the best powder snow conditions in the world, people in some of the country’s coldest regions are used to dealing with heavy snowfall during the winter months.

However, when snow falls in the capital, it’s an entirely different story, as the relatively mild winters in Tokyo mean cars and public transport aren’t prepared for the disruption caused by extreme weather conditions.

So when 10-20 centimetres of snow blanketed the city’s central 23 wards on Monday, in what was the heaviest snowfall recorded here in four years, commuters experienced major delays and cancellations around the city.

Flights were cancelled at Haneda and Narita airports, stranding thousands of travellers, with supplies of food selling out at convenience stores inside the terminal.

Students and workers in the city heeded official weather warnings from the Meteorological Agency, which encouraged people to head home early and avoid leaving their homes unless absolutely necessary. This saw railway stations and trains become packed from 2:30 p.m., much earlier than the usual evening peak rush hour.

Tokyo’s first official heavy snow warning since February 2014 created huge lines at many of the major stations around the city, as trains slowed down for customer safety, delaying services.

▼ Shinagawa Station was a nightmare for commuters in the afternoon.

▼ Train lines at Ikebukuro Station also suffered major delays.

On the roads, there were a number of accidents caused by the snow. More than six centimetres (2.4 inches) of snow is enough to cause skidding, and with 16 centimetres of snow already recorded in Tokyo by 7:00 p.m., traffic came to a standstill in some parts.

Roughly 50 cars became stranded on the Rainbow Bridge after the bridge was closed due to traffic accidents, which left hundreds of cars in gridlock.

Heavy vehicles were advised to use snow chains, although this didn’t stop a Soutetsu bus from running into a street pole.

Outdoor areas also battled the weather, like this batting centre at Shinjuku which collapsed under the weight of the snow.

Despite the chaotic scenes around the city, which tested the patience of many as they made their way around the capital, the crowds dissipated as night fell, creating eerily quiet scenes in usually busy areas.

According to media reports, at least 180 people sustained minor injuries, mostly due to falls on the streets. While the sun came out in Tokyo today, melting the snow that had accumulated overnight, sub-zero temperatures are expected for the next few days, so people are advised to take extra care while walking around the icy streets.

Source: Otakomu
Featured image: Twitter/@hytnb