Tokyo sees November snow for the first time in 54 years

Snow last fell in central Tokyo in 1962

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The Independent Online

Residents in Tokyo have woken up to the city's first November snowfall in more than half a century. 

An abnormally cold air mass brought wet snow to the Japanese capital on Thursday morning, causing travel disruption for thousands commuters. 

Snow began falling just before dawn with temperatures approaching zero as the cold weather system moved south. 

A man stands near the gate in the snow at Kanda Myojin shrine in Tokyo (AP)
Shrine maidens walk in the snow at the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura, near Tokyo (AP)

The Japan Meteorological Agency said it was the first time snow had fallen in central Tokyo since 1962. 

The snow landed 40 days earlier than usual and 49 days ahead of last year, the agency said. 

Meteorologists forecast that an inch of snow would fall, with more expected in the mountains north-west of Tokyo. 

The snow caused train and subway services to be temporarily suspended or delayed during the Thursday morning rush hour, particularly in western Tokyo. 

Above-freezing temperatures prevented the snow from accumulating in most places, however it did stick on pavements and cars in the western suburbs. 

A shrine maiden walks in the snow at the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura, near Tokyo (AP)
A visitor takes a photo in the snow at the Hase temple in Kamakura, near Tokyo (AP)
A man walks in the snow in Tokyo (AP)

Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that 13 people had been injured since the snow hit the city, mainly due to people falling on slippery surfaces. 

Tokyo Electric Power said electricity consumption swelled to 95 per cent of supply capacity as of 10am, due to rising demand for heating, Japan Today reports. 

Tokyo, which spreads over a wide area and includes many suburbs, sees relatively mild winters compared to other parts of the country where snowfall is more frequent.  

Additional reporting by agencies