Japanese language & culture blog

The end of April has arrived, and the cherry blossoms are pretty much over. With summer on it’s way, it is the perfect time for a holiday. If you are in Japan you are in luck! The Japanese call this holiday Golden Week and its one of the busiest for travel inside and outside of the country.

Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク) also known as Ōgon Shūkan (黄金週間) or Ōgata renkyū (大型連休), is the longest Japanese holiday with the exception of  New Years and the Obon week. Consisting of several holidays, Golden Week begins on April 29th and ends on May 5th. Sometimes however, there can be up to 10 days off depending on the weekends. During this time people make the most of their vacation, traveling around the country or abroad. Most tourist attractions in Japan are very crowded during Golden Week so If you plan a trip around this time, it’s best to be prepared.

The Golden Week is made up of the following National Holidays:

  • April 29th –  Shōwa Day (Shōwa no hi) (昭和の日) – On this date, the Japanese celebrate the birthday of former Emperor Showa, who died in 1989. Greenery Day used to be celebrated as well, but was moved to a later date on May 4th.
  • May 3rd – Constitution Memorial Day (Kenpō kinenbi) (憲法記念日) – This holiday commemorates the inception of the Japanese post-war Constitution replacing the Meiji Constitution. This new constitution is based on the British and American constitutions and has it’s focus on prohibition of war and human rights.
  • May 4th – Greenery Day (Midori no hi) (みどりの日) – Moved from April 29th to May in 2007, this day can be described as the Japanese version of Earth day in the US, with the emphasis on the environment and nature
  • May 5th – Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi) (こどもの日) – Better known as Boys’ Day, this is a day set aside to celebrate the happiness of children. I’m not sure if any other country has such a holiday just for the kids! This used to be mainly for boys, but has been changed to include all children. One activity that is done during this holiday is the hanging of Koinobori above the roofs of houses with children as well as around towns at festivals.

Of course you can’t forget about the various festivals and parades that will be going on, not to mention various fireworks seen everywhere. Golden week is truly something to look forward to if you are working and living in Japan. Although getting around might be difficult with so many people on vacation. If you do plan ahead, however, you should have an enjoyable and eventful time to remember in Japan!