Something for everyone during Golden Week

April 11th, 2012By Category: Culture, Events

Golden Week is a gathering of several national holidays over a seven-day period. The week starts on April 29 with Showa Day (used to be known as Greenery Day until 2007), celebrating the birthday of the Showa Emperor who passed away in 1989.

May 3 is Kenpo Kinenbi, which is Constitution Day, marking the promulgation of Japan’s new postwar constitution in 1947. Next comes May 4, which is Greenery Day. The final holiday of Golden Week is Children’s Day on May 5. It is also known as the Boy’s Festival. Families with sons display koinobori (carp streamers) from April until early May, wishing that their sons will grow healthy and strong.

The koinobori custom was initiated by the ancient Japanese to indicate the whereabouts of brave warriors. That’s why, even today, koinobori are still considered symbols of courage, masculinity and success in life.

Koinobori must be set in a specific order. The largest black koinobori comes first because it is considered representative of the father. Then, the smaller red koinobori, which sympolizes the mother. Next are the blue and green smaller koinobori, representing sons of the household.

Just like New Year and Obon week in Japan, transportation and sightseeing spots will be packed to overflowing with visitors.

Unfortunately, Golden Week this year is not so “golden” because there is only one weekend. Nevertheless, there are plenty of activities for young and old.

Tokyo Hotaru Festival 2012

This event will be held in the Sumida River basin between May 5 and 6. On May 5, there will be a carp streamer parade during the day and an illuminated portable shrine parade at night. A symposium on the relationship between Tokyo rivers and people today and LED lighting art will be held on May 6.

When: May 5 and 6
Admission: Free
More information:

Yokohama October Fest 2012

This is an annual event usually held in October but this year, it is being held in the spring as well to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the event. The venue is the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse. You can enjoy a variety of German beers and dishes made of spring vegetables.

When: April 27 and May 6
Admission: 200 yen
More information:

Festival Walk Dreams 2012 Golden Week

Fireworks highlight the Festival Walk Soga in Chiba, featuring about 1,500 skyrockets. There will also be many leisure facilities such as spas, shops and restaurants.

When: May 5, 8pm to 8:15pm
Admission: Free
More information:

National Children’s Castle, Kodomo no Shiro

The Children’s Castle in Tokyo usually has a variety of activities for children of all ages. This year, there will be special fun activities for children. At the Kodomo Saijiki, children can make original carp streamers and warrior’s helmets. Also, at the Wakuwaku Ongaku Station (Exciting Music Station), children and their parents will have an opportunity to play musical instruments, sing and dance together.

When: April 28 and May 6
Admission: Varies depending on age
More information:

Ultraman Himitsukichi in Futagotamagawa Daisakusen

This event revolves around Ultraman-related activities, including exhibitions and merchandise corners based on successive generations of the Ultraman series. It will be held in the Tamagawa Takashimaya S・C. Both children and parents can enjoy and learn about “bonds of family, siblings and friends” through the history of Ultraman series.

When: Between April 25 and May 6
Admission: 600yen
More information:

Midori no Festival

Kitamoto City in Saitama Prefecture will hold nature-related activities at the Kitamoto City Children’s Park. The kids can enjoy nature through walk rallies, planting seedlings, touching caterpillars, and so on.

When: April 29, 10am to 3pm
Admission: 600yen
More information:

Pet Exposition 2012 in Yokohama

Pets are also family members and they might want to enjoy Golden Week as well. Pacifico Yokohama will hold a pet exposition between May 3 and 6. There will be classes on pet training and hair care, well as dog shows.

When: Between May 3 and 6
Admission: 1,200yen for adults, 800yen for children over 4
More information:

Local Gourmet Festival 2012

Yomiuri Land will stage a food festival, gathering about 40 dishes from 14 prefectures plus Tokyo, Hokkaido, Osaka and Kyoto. You can enjoy a variety of food, including beers, and sweets from different regions.

When: April 28 and May 6
Admission: 1,200yen for adults, 800yen for children over 4
More information:

Koinobori Street in Isezaki Mall, Yokohama

This is an annual event, celebrating Children’s Day by displaying koinobori in the 1~7 Streets of Isezaki Mall in Yokohama. This year’s display is for the healthy growth of children and the revival of Tohoku.

When: From the beginning of April until May 5
More information:

Author of this article


GaijinPot is an online community for foreigners living in Japan, providing information on everything you need to know about enjoying life here, from finding a job and accommodation to having fun.

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