Public transport was shut down after the earthquake, leaving millions stranded in Tokyo as Friday drew to a close.
Unable to get though on their mobiles, commuters converged on pay phones although landlines, too, were severely disrupted.
Taking care to protect his head with a helmet, one worker, Jim Odajiri, said he would walk and stay at the home of a friend who lives nearby.
Mitsuyo Kyogoku, employed at a nursing care facility, said that if there were no taxis, she would have to find a place to stay overnight.
Some heading further afield had their travel plans plunged into turmoil, with Tokyo’s airports transformed into giant campsites.
“I was in the air. It (the earthquake) happened about an hour before we landed,” said stranded air passenger Lane Jenkins whose plane was diverted to the capital’s Haneda airport. “So we didn’t know anything about it until the pilot said we can’t land in Narita. There has been very little information here. Nobody seems to know anything.”
While some flights have resumed, it is far from business as usual in Japan, the world’s third largest economy.