Winter arrived early in Tokyo this year as the Japanese capital woke up to snowfall in November for the first time in over five decades.
An unusually cold air mass passing over the city pushed temperature down 10 degrees Celsius overnight — from an average of 11°C (50°F) to 1°C (34 °F).
The Japan Meteorological Agency said it was the first time snow had fallen in November in central Tokyo since 1962, according to NHK, the country’s national broadcaster.
Shrine maidens chat in the snow at the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, near Tokyo.
The weather was a challenge for people choosing to wear the traditional kimono.
Surprised city dwellers shared pictures and videos of the rare weather on social media.
Instagram user Chloe Chia filmed her Tokyo window view excited by the unseasonal snow.
A video posted by Chloe Chia 謝佩珊 (@chloetale) on
But the above freezing temperatures in central Tokyo made the icy flakes melt slightly upon falling on the ground, adding more moisture and creating heavy, wet snow.
Robert Speta, a meteorologist from NHK’s World service, described the weathers as a downpour of “wet, fat, snowflakes” that stuck to people’s clothes.
But while the snow’s consistency made it harder to accumulate, it did pile up on some pavements and cars. Another first, as Tokyo never saw snow building up in November since records started to be taken in 1875.
The country’s weather agency warned about slippery pavements and roads
The country’s weather agency issued warnings of possible icy roads and snow on electric wires.
“It’s making for some slick driving conditions. That’s why in some trains you’re seeing a lot of delays,” said Robert Speta.
Train delays After Snow Fall had the most impact
The Japan Times reported that some people have slipped on snowy roads and suffered fractured bones thanks to the slippery surfaces.
But Kahoru Yuki, a photographer and freelance journalist in Tokyo, told CNN that issues with transportation were city dwellers’ main concern.
“There were some injuries, especially with the elderly. But for most people the train delays had the biggest impact,” Kahoru Yuki told CNN.
A boy looks at falling snow from a train window.
Train and subway services were delayed in some areas during the morning rush hour.
Despite the setbacks, Kahoru could not help taking a picture of ice flakes gathering over leaves, describing the effect as “ice flowers” blooming in the capital.
Ice flowers are blooming now in Tokyo… it is very unusual snow falls in November #winter #snow❄️ freezing ?
A photo posted by Kahoru Yuki (@yuki.kahoru) on
Snow will not stay for long
But while Tokyo’s first snowfall — known as “hatsuyuki” — arrived earlier this year, it will not stay for long.
As the cold air mass leaves Japan, the weather experts from NHK said sunnier conditions would prevail through Friday.
It may be another 50 years until Tokyo sees snow in November again.