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Golden Week in Japan (29 April to 5 May)

Golden Week in Japan (29 April to 5 May)

With the sakura season coming to a close, the next exciting holiday that many living in Japan would look forward to is Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク)! For travellers who are not very familiar with Japan, what exactly is Golden Week? 


What and when is Golden Week?

Celebrated annually from 29 April to 5 May, Golden Week refers to the highly-anticipated series of consecutive national holidays. It is considered one of the longest holiday seasons in the country when paired with well-placed weekends. The four national holidays that make up Golden Week are:

Showa Day (29 April)

Showa Memorial Park or Showa Kinen Park  (昭和記念公園 Shōwakinen-kōen). (Image credit: photoAC)

Showa Day (昭和の日 Shōwa no hi) is a day for remembering the Showa Period (1926–1989), and also the birthday of former Emperor Showa (昭和天皇 Shōwa-tennō). Museums, such as the National Showa Memorial Museum (昭和館 Shōwa-kan), and shrines are popular spots to visit on this day as visitors reflect on Japan’s rich history during this nostalgic era. 


Constitution Day (3 May)

Japan’s National Diet Building is open to the public on 3 May for complimentary tours of the building. (Image credit: photoAC)

Constitution Day (憲法記念日 Kenpō kinenbi) is a national holiday made in 1948 to commemorate the adoption of the post-World War II constitution. It is a day to commemorate the peace in Japan, by remembering and learning from history’s past. 

Greenery Day (4 May)

Nemophila at Hitachi Seaside Park. (Image credit: photoAC)

Greenery Day (みどりの日 Midori no hi) is a day that is dedicated to the appreciation of Japan’s natural environment. Members of the public are encouraged to spend time in nature by going for walks, visiting a park or garden, and even participating in outdoor activities. If you’re a fan of flowers, you can enjoy the beautiful blossoms of other spring flowers at Hitachi Seaside Park (国営ひたち海浜公園 Kokuei hitachi kaihin kōen).


Children's Day (5 May)

(Image credit: photoAC)

Children’s Day (こどもの日 Kodomo no hi) is a holiday to wish for the health and happiness of children and to promote their well-being. You can spot koinobori (鯉のぼり) banners in the shape of carps as though they are swimming upstream along rivers and even at popular tourist attractions such as Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree!


What happens during Golden Week?

Time for a holiday! (Image credit: photoAC)


In addition to these holidays, many Japanese companies give their employees a few extra days off, making Golden Week a popular time for travel. This year’s holidays are paired with the weekends, and for some, if they are willing to take an additional 2 days off, will have a total of 9 days of vacation!


As Golden Week takes place when the weather starts to transition into the warmer months, it is also a period when the demand for outdoor activities and experiences increases. For many, they take this opportunity to travel domestically or abroad to spend quality time with their friends and families. 


The golden tip: Make bookings early and be flexible

(Image credit: Pakutaso)


This week-long holiday is a prime time for people living in Japan to take a break from their busy lives. If you plan on travelling during Golden Week, it is crucial to make reservations early, as this is one of the busiest times of the year.


Flights, hotels, and restaurants book up quickly during this time and it is not uncommon to see long lines and large crowds at train stations, airports, and tourist sites. However, this doesn't mean that you can't enjoy your trip. In fact, with a little planning, you can have a fantastic time during Golden Week. 


A tip that we can impart is to plan ahead and be open to alternatives, be it for accommodations, restaurants, or even sightseeing spots, to avoid being disappointed. 


Have a golden “Golden Week” ahead!

All in all, with so many things to see and do, visiting Japan during Golden Week can be very exciting! Alternatively, should you wish to avoid the crowd, a trip sometime towards the middle of May would be a better choice—you will still get to experience pleasant weather during this time. Another often overlooked season to check out is the shinryoku (新緑) season, or the season of “new green”. Explore Eastern Japan’s shinryoku season here


Header image credit: photoAC


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