What’s the deal with Golden Week?
Showa Day commemorates the Showa Era, and is the birthday of former Emperor Showa. Constitution Memorial Day (Kenpo-kinenbi) honors Japan’s constitution which came into force on this day in 1947.
Greenery Day (Midori-no-hi) is dedicated to the environment and nature, while Children’s Day (Kodomo-no-hi) celebrates Boy’s Festival (Tango no Sekku). Parents wish health and future success of their sons by hanging up Koinobori (carp streamers), a symbol of effort and success, outside houses and by displaying Musha Ningyo (samurai dolls) in their houses.
The week gets its name from broadcasting jargon, a “golden time,” which is the equivalent of primetime. Since this period is usually blessed with good weather and moderate temperature, many large festivals take place all around the nation, helping to make Golden Week to be an extremely popular time for travel and sightseeing.
Some of the more famous festivals include Hamamatsu-Matsuri, in Shizuoka; Kurayami-Matsuri, in Tokyo; Naha Hari, in Okinawa; Hakata Dontaku, in Fukuoka; Hirosaki Sakura Matsuri, in Aomori; and Odawara Hojo Godai Matsuri in Kanagawa. Transportation and accommodations are often fully booked throughout this time, despite traditionally high Golden Week rates.
Road travelers beware!
Road Bureau traffic updates are available online.
Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!
Follow us on social media!