'Pretty hectic': Australians among travellers stranded as snow storm hits Tokyo


Australian passengers are among those facing delays in Japan as a rare snow storm hits Tokyo.

Scores of Australians were left stranded in Japan overnight, as a rare winter storm delivered Tokyo its heaviest snowfall in years, forcing the cancellation of 250 international flights.

An estimated 16 centimetres of snow had fallen in the centre of the Japanese capital by 7pm on Monday (local time). Kyodo news agency reported it was the city's heaviest snowfall in four years.

A Qantas flight due to leave the Haneda airport at 10pm was delayed by nearly four hours because of the weather.

A Korean aircraft was de-iced twice and airport staff were frantically racing to snowplough the runways.

Sydney mum Sally Quinn is one stranded passenger, as she tries to get home after skiing for ten days with her family at Niseko.

"My son and I are both sick, this is the last thing we need," she told AAP at the airport.

"Got to get back to work."

University student Tom Waddington, 20, had been on a snowboarding holiday with his family at Myoko for a week.

The family-of-six caught Tokyo trains and the monorail to the airport and were shocked by the sardine factor.

"It was pretty hectic," he told AAP.

"So many people were shoving on to the trains."

It's understood at some ski fields buses with Australian skiers aboard couldn't get through the thick snow, causing some passengers to miss their flight entirely.

Trains to Tokyo's suburbs were unusually full in the afternoon.

The government issued heavy snow warnings for the area around the capital, just two weeks after hundreds of people were trapped overnight in a train in northern Japan due to heavy snow.

The Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported universities had postponed entrance exams due to have been held on Tuesday morning.

A looming low pressure system and cold front just off the coast of Japan's main island of Honshu was expected to bring low temperatures and more snow throughout the day and night, the Japanese Meteorological Agency said.

The Japanese capital often sees snow at least once a year, but this time it was accumulating, rather than quickly melting.

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