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Celebrating Golden Week in Japan: Japan’s Busiest Season


Think about spring break, however for a whole nation! That’s what Golden Week in Japan appears like yearly. With 4 holidays spanning the total week, celebrations and festivals are held throughout the nation. This makes it the right time to journey for these dwelling in Japan and coming from overseas.

There’s a ton to soak up all through the week, however there are a pair extra steps you’ll must take to make sure you aren’t overwhelmed by the crowds. We’ve included a full record of journey ideas under, together with extra element on the historical past and traditions of every vacation! 

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What’s Golden Week in Japan?

Golden Week is the week in the course of spring the place 4 nationwide holidays fall inside seven days. Which means that many individuals have a complete week off work or college. 

The 4 holidays that make up Golden Week are:

  • Shōwa Day (Shōwa no Hello 昭和の日)
  • Structure Memorial Day (Kenpō Kinenbi 憲法記念日)
  • Greenery Day (Midori no Hello みどりの日)
  • Youngsters’s Day (Kodomo no Hello 子供の日)

Every vacation has its personal historical past and festivities. Shōwa Day and Structure Memorial Day are each holidays recognizing Japanese historical past, Greenery Day celebrates the setting, and Youngsters’s Day has a wealthy cultural historical past with origins courting again to the Kamakura interval (1185–1333) and even additional.

Some occasions is probably not instantly tied to anyone vacation, however are nonetheless a pleasure to see. The Miyako Odori efficiency by geisha and maiko in Kyoto is held in April and is a stellar instance of conventional Japanese dance and tradition. When you’re within the Tokyo space, Meiji Jingu, the Shinto shrine the place Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken are commemorated, additionally holds ceremonies and reveals. When you select to go to the shrine, do do not forget that it’s a non secular place and needs to be approached with respect.

>> Listed here are some recommendations on find out how to communicate to Japanese locals with respect!

castle-in-japan-during-spring-lined-with-cherry-blossoms

When is Golden Week in Japan?

Golden Week begins in late April and continues via the start of Could. 

  • Shōwa Day (Shōwa no Hello 昭和の日): April 29
  • Structure Memorial Day (Kenpō Kinenbi 憲法記念日): Could 3
  • Greenery Day (Midori no Hello みどりの日): Could 4
  • Youngsters’s Day (Kodomo no Hello 子供の日): Could 5

Japanese regulation stipulates that any day that falls between two nationwide holidays shall even be a vacation, known as a “residents’ vacation.” Earlier than Greenery Day was established, Could 4 was one such vacation.

Relying on the place April 29 falls on the calendar in any given yr, weekends might lengthen Golden Week, or there could also be a stretch of as much as three days within the center the place there are not any nationwide holidays or weekends that may require places of work to provide the break day. Golden Week 2023 started on Saturday, April 29, which meant that Youngsters’s Day was on a Friday, main into a bit further time tacked on to the top within the type of a weekend.

Golden Week 2024 will start on Monday, April 29 and finish on Sunday, Could 5. Whereas April 30 via Could 2 will not be nationwide holidays, Golden Week will nonetheless be loved all through the nation.

Journey ideas for visiting Japan throughout Golden Week

Desirous about touring to Japan over this busy week? There are various good causes to! There are conventional festivals, flowers are in bloom everywhere in the nation, and the climate is gorgeous in early Could. Nevertheless, it’s also price holding a number of issues in thoughts. 

Make reservations

Vacationers each in Japan and from overseas have their eyes on Golden Week. To ensure you get to the locations in your record, make reservations early: 3 to six months prematurely, when you can. Tickets promote out for trains, airways, resorts, excursions, and extra, so get your bookings in to keep away from lacking out.

Know what’s open

Not all the things is open on nationwide holidays. Nonessential authorities places of work will shut, as will banks. It’s extremely necessary that you simply guarantee you’ve got entry to the funds you want earlier than visiting Japan throughout Golden Week to keep away from any monetary disasters.

Shops and eating places will nonetheless be open — and should even have gross sales! — however their working hours could also be barely totally different than regular, so verify forward for any explicit locations you propose to go to.

Have entry to the web

Maps, messaging companies, electronic mail…all are obligatory for a clean journey. Particularly throughout such a busy week, schedules can change and it’s simple to get misplaced within the crowds. Plan to get a short lived SIM card on your cellphone or a transportable Wi-Fi router to maintain your self related.

Be versatile!

Be ready for issues to occur final minute. Whether or not rain cancels the parade or it takes longer to get to your lodge than you anticipated, your journey might have some bumps and hurdles. Don’t let it discourage you and hold some back-up plans in your pocket!

Now that you’ve got these factors in thoughts, let’s take a look at what holidays are noticed throughout Golden Week.

>> Observe some Japanese earlier than you go together with these dialog classes!

the-imperial-palace-in-tokyo-pictured-during-sunset-during-golden-week-in-japan

Shōwa Day

On April 29, Japan kicks off Golden Week with a day celebrating Emperor Shōwa’s birthday. He’s additionally identified by one other identify: Hirohito. 

The Japanese calendar system was aligned with the Gregorian calendar within the late nineteenth century, however some parts are nonetheless used at the moment. One instance is the period identify (gengō 元号) system. When a brand new emperor ascends to the throne, a brand new period begins and a reputation is chosen to discuss with each him and the period. The period of the present emperor, Naruhito, is the Reiwa Period. Upon an emperor’s dying, he’s henceforth referred to by that period identify.

Emperor Shōwa, or Hirohito, was the reigning emperor from 1926 to 1989. Because the emperor throughout Japan’s interval of imperial growth and World Warfare II, he’s generally a tough matter because of the ambiguous extent of his function throughout that point. 

The present emperor’s birthday is a nationwide vacation in Japan (at the moment February 23 for Emperor Naruhito), however Emperor Shōwa’s birthday is the one one which continues to be noticed after his dying. Whereas it was as soon as a day to rejoice his birthday, at the moment it’s inspired to mirror on the occasions throughout his reign and the way Japan has moved ahead. 

cherry-blossoms-blooming-during-golden-week-in-japan

Structure Memorial Day

In 1947, Japan’s present structure was enacted. With the cooperation of U.S. Normal Douglas MacArthur, Japan created their new structure following World Warfare II, which adopted a extra trendy mannequin. It’s the world’s oldest unamended structure, having not been amended since its enactment!

Very like Shōwa Day, Structure Memorial Day is a day to ponder Japanese historical past and the present state of Japan. The Nationwide Weight-reduction plan, Japan’s legislature, opens the doorways of its constructing to the general public for excursions. You may as well discover public lectures on World Warfare II and Japanese historical past, in addition to topical items in newspapers.

child-interacting-with-a-sea-lion-at-the-zoo-on-greenery-day-in-japan

Greenery Day

Greenery Day, celebrated on Could 4, is one in all many holidays all over the world that celebrates the setting and nature. Its origins are instantly tied to Shōwa Day. 

When it was established in 1989, Greenery Day was held on April 29, which is now Shōwa Day. Emperor Shōwa was keen on nature, so the affiliation was apt. On the time, Greenery Day was used as a alternative vacation for Emperor Shōwa’s birthday as a result of the vacation held for the emperor’s birthday could be that of the brand new emperor, Emperor Akihito. In 2007, Shōwa Day was established and Greenery Day was moved to Could 4, which had already been a residents’ vacation.

Individuals rejoice Greenery Day by spending time in nature. Zoos across the nation provide free admission, timber are planted in honor of the vacation, and the climate throughout Golden Week is usually nice for climbing. Japan’s well-known cherry blossoms might also nonetheless be in bloom within the northernmost components of the nation, and Greenery Day is an ideal day to get pleasure from hanami (花見, flower viewing).

mother-and-child-exchanging-gifts-for-children's-day-in-japan

Youngsters’s Day

Ending Golden Week with a bang, Youngsters’s Day celebrates the kids of Japan. It was initially often called Tango no Sekku (端午の節句) and solely celebrated boys, whereas Ladies’ Day (Hinamatsuri 雛祭り) was celebrated on March 3. Ladies’ Day continues to be held, however now each girls and boys are included in Youngsters’s Day. Nevertheless, solely Youngsters’s Day is a nationwide vacation. 

Traditions

On Youngsters’s Day, households want for the well being and happiness of their kids. As kids are at all times rising, measuring them is a enjoyable custom to see how a lot taller they’ve grow to be over the course of a yr.

Iris flowers and leaves are thought to deliver good well being, and are included in Youngsters’s Day decorations. Some households even take baths with iris vegetation on today.

Koinobori-or-koi-shaped-wind-socks-carried-by-the-wind-in-japan

Shows

Koinobori (鯉のぼり, or carp-shaped windsocks) are flown all through Japan with every fish representing a member of the household. Black signifies the daddy, pink represents the mom, and varied colours can be utilized for the kids (typically blue). Although the vacation solely lasts for a day, you might even see these decorations flying within the wind for weeks. 

Samurai armor can be placed on show contained in the houses, which is traditionally related to needs for robust and wholesome boys. Creating samurai armor or carps out of paper utilizing origami or kirigami (like origami, however the paper is lower in addition to folded) can be executed as a enjoyable, accessible exercise.

Kashiwamochi-prepared-for-children's-day-in-japan

Meals

In fact, there are additionally conventional meals to be loved on Youngsters’s Day! Kashiwamochi (柏餅) and chimaki (粽) are each related to the vacation.

Kashiwamochi is a mochi rice cake wrapped in oak leaves, filled with adzuki bean paste. The sakuramochi (桜餅) eaten on Ladies’ Day is wrapped with pickled cherry blossom leaves and will be eaten, however the oak leaves overlaying kashiwamochi shouldn’t be. 

Chimaki are triangular rice muffins crammed with all kinds of elements, in contrast to the extra plain onigiri (おにぎり) discovered year-round. The glutinous rice (mochigome 餅米) is the first ingredient, however shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and carrots are widespread greens added to the filling. Soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and sesame oil can all be used to taste a savory chimaki.

Have fun Golden Week with Rosetta Stone

Golden Week is among the highlights of the yr in Japan. Whether or not you’re observing the vacations from afar or benefiting from the times off to journey round Japan, diving deeper into Japanese tradition by studying the language can solely improve your expertise!

Neglect about flashcards and rote memorization: Japanese is well inside your attain via Rosetta Stone’s bite-sized classes and absolutely immersive setting. We introduce you naturally to new languages with our Dynamic Immersion methodology, serving to you to course of the language like a local speaker. Our TruAccent speech-recognition engine will hearken to you communicate and put you on monitor to have the right accent. Bounce into your first lesson and start your Japanese journey at the moment.

Written by Alexa Bevan

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