Golden Week in Japan is fast approaching. The end of April through around May 5th is called “Golden Week” in Japan and is based around a period of Japanese national holidays. Golden Week in 2012 is based on two separate holidays of 3 and 4 days. The first is from Saturday, April 28 through to Monday, April 30 and then Thursday, May 3 through to Sunday, May 6.
There are four national holidays during this period:
Showa Day (April 29)
This is the first national holiday during Golden Week and is the birthday of the former Emperor Showa, and is called showa-no-hi (Showa Day).
Constitution Memorial Day (May 3)
The second holiday on May 3 is kenpou-kinenbi (Constitution Memorial Day). The new Japanese constitution was put into effect on May 3, 1947.
Greenery Day (May 4)
May 4 is called midori-no-hi (Greenery Day) during which we show appreciation for the environment and nature.
Children’s Day (May 5)
The last holiday is kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day) on May 5. It’s a Japanese Boy’s festival and is a day to pray for healthy growth of boys. It’s a Japanese tradition for families with boys to hang up carp streamers (koinobori) outside their houses around this holiday. Carps are believed to symbolize successes in children’s lives. Also, samurai dolls called gogatsu ningyo (May Dolls) are displayed in their houses.
This is a very busy travel season in Japan and most tourist destinations are extremely crowded. Many Japanese offices close for about a week to 10 days, depending on the calendar with many people taking a vacation, traveling abroad or to a tourist attraction in Japan. Airports and train stations are usually overflowing with people during this time and it can be very hard to get reservations for accommodation and transportation during Golden Week.
May is a great time to travel in Japan and I would advise planning a trip to Japan after the Golden Week travel rush has ended. The travel peak is anticipated for around May 3 this year.
For those not travelling, there are numerous festivals and events for the whole family. Read Something for everyone during Golden Week for a list of event dates.