Golden Week 2017 in Japan
It’s May 1st and maybe some of you are already on their way to have their annual holiday.
Golden Week is about to start! And like every year we want to share with you big events which are going on during Golden Week in Japan!
With the new year holidays (Shogatsu) , and Obon holidays in summer, the Golden Week is one of the three most important national holiday periods of the year, situated between the end of April and the beginning of May. Depending of the years and the week ends, the holidays can be up to five consecutive days.
- April 29th is the Showa Day (Showa no Hi 昭和の日, in order to celebrate the birthday of the former Showa Emperor, who was born on this day in 1901.
- May 3rd is the Constitution Memorial Day (Kenpo Kinnenbi 憲 法記念日), in honor of the 1947 Constitution of Japan. This is the only day of the year when the National Diet Building in Nagatachou is opened to the public.
- May 4th is the Greenery Day (Midori no Hi みどりの日), in order to celebrate nature and plants.
- May 5th is the Children’s Day (Kodomo no Hi こ どもの日).
Originally, Children’s Day was dedicated to the good health and success of the sons in a family. This day has been celebrated since ancient times in both Japan and China, whereas the other holidays (Kenpo Kinenbi and Midori no Hi) were created after the Second World War. The day used to exclusively honor boys and fathers but a law in 1948 stated, that from now on girls as well as mother should be included.
On this day, families hang up carp streamers called ‘Koinobori’ outside of their house – each carp symbolizing one member of the family and bringing good luck to children’s lives. ‘Magoi’, the black carp, represents the father, ‘Higoi’, the red carp, the mother, and the small carps represent the children of the family (traditionally the sons). Children also receive Kashiwa-mochi cakes, which are mochi rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves.
What to do during Golden Week?
Golden Week is one of the busiest traveling time in Japan, and a lot of festivals and events are held during those days. If you are planning to visit the country it is better to book your transportation and accommodation very soon (preferably months in ahead). Since it is already too late for this year, why not start booking your trip for next year…I don’t think you will be the only one. It is a shame. Now you have holidays and everything is either fully booked or super expensive (rates go way up during GW) or extremely crowded.
So what to do if you haven’t really thought about it before? Why not stay where you are and take the time to explore your city? Some areas in Tokyo are actually less crowded during GW because people head to more popular spots such as Kamakura and Takaosan.
You can also try to find information about events, concerts, special markets that are taking place in your living area. For this, check out your local municipality website or your local train station (remember all those flyers that lie there or those posters that hang on the wall?)
Or go shopping? It sounds a little bit lame but many department stores offer GW discounts to draw in the crowds.
Or, if you don’t want to give in to all that Golden Week “I have to do something FUN!” pressure, why not take the time to clean and tidy up your place 😉
- Find a good guide on how to avoid the crowds in Tokyo on Tokyo cheapo.
- Find out about what’s going on in Tokyo on Time Out Tokyo!
- Find more information about Golden Week on Japan-Guide.com!
- Information about the JR lines is available in English on their website here.
Our office will be closed from Wednesday, May 3rd until Sunday 7th. We will be back on May 8th! 🙂
A reminder to let you know that if you are looking for an accommodation in Japan, our portal JapanRoomFinder.com has plenty of apartments and rooms in share houses available all over Japan. Send us an enquiry if you like one of them.