Japan's Kansai International Airport crowded with holidaymakers

Kansai International Airport in Japan's western prefecture of Osaka is crowded with people on Saturday as they prepare to travel overseas on their spring holidays.

The operator of the airport says more than 680,000 international travelers are expected to depart or arrive at the airport between Friday and May 6.

The daily average is 60 percent greater than last year's figure, but still 19 percent lower than in 2019 before the pandemic.

The rush to leave began at the airport on Saturday morning when the international departure lobby became crowded with people pulling large suitcases.

A man in his 30's from the western prefecture of Kagawa, who is traveling to Guam with his family, said they have been planning the trip for the past half year, and have been looking forward to this day. He said he doubts they will be able to dine out and shop as much as they had hoped due to the depreciation of the yen, but they will just spend more time at the beach.

A woman in her 60's from Osaka, who is going to Thailand with a friend, said travel expenses have gone up significantly compared to pre-pandemic levels. She said she will make sure that her friend does not overspend, while still enjoying the local cuisine and the beaches.

The rush of returning travelers is expected to peak on May 5 and 6.