If you have recently moved to Japan, you might be wondering what all the hype about the ‘’golden week’’ is. Especially around the time towards the end of April and the start of May, you would be hearing the term ‘’Golden week’’ pretty often. So if you are a new resident or just a curious traveller visiting in the mentioned time frame, you would want to know what the golden week is all about and why it is so important to the Japanese.
Golden week is a term assigned to annual week-long holidays that starts from April 29 and goes up to May 05. Each day of the golden week is categorized as a national holiday, such as the constitution day, children’s day etc. By now, you must be wondering why a week-long holiday is and what is this holiday all about?
Japanese are known for working without a break and for their long and tedious working hours. Since the Japanese rarely get a chance to go on a vacation due to their tight work schedules, Golden Week is an excellent opportunity for them to unwind, travel and relax during this long vacation. Golden week is one of the busiest holiday seasons in Japan; airports, trains, and all the sightseeing spots are filled with people who are just taking time off and going on a holiday. Usually, the weather during this time frame, post-spring and pre-summer time is perfect and calls out for travelling and outdoor activities.
History of the Golden Week
Golden week holidays mean a big deal for the Japanese. It’s a long-awaited cluster of holidays that was first initiated in 1948. The term golden week first emerged in 1951 after the phrase ” golden time” which was used frequently by the Japanese radio industry during the prime time listening hours; because of the clustered holidays, several people tuned into the radio, went to the movies and invested their time off and money in other leisure activities.
Four of the fifteen national holidays in Japan line up in the golden week. The national holidays making up the golden week are:
- April 29, Showa Day
The week log holidays start with the first holiday on April 29, known as the Showa Day. Showa Day is a day specified to honour the late Emperor Hirohito’s birthday. Hirohito was a famous ruler in Japan back in the Showa period. No specific activities are assigned to this day, but it is considered a day for the country’s citizens to look back at the history and remember the good old days of the Showa period.
- May 03, Constitution Memorial Day
As evident from the name, this day celebrates the day of enactment of the Constitution of Japan in 1947 after World War II. Generally, the entire week between May 01 to May 07 is also termed the Constitution memorial week because specific activities across the country are designed to let people learn and study the meaning and roles of the Constitution during that period.
- May 04, Greenery Day
We all know how much the Japanese appreciate natural beauty, scenic locations and mesmerizing landscapes. But did you know there is a holiday for it? May 04 is the annual Greenery day holiday in Japan. The day used to be celebrated on April 29 in the memory of the death of the Emperor in the Showa period, but in 2005 the name was changed to ” Greenery Day” in remembrance of the fact how much the Emperor of Showa acknowledged the importance of greenery and loved nature and plants. This day is to celebrate and acknowledge the greenery of nature and the beautiful connection the Emperor had with nature and plants.
- May 05, Children’s Day
The last day of the golden week, May 05, is named the Children’ day; it is perhaps the most exciting day for families with little children as many fun traditions occur. Children’s day is celebrated to honour the health and wellness of children. It became a national holiday in 1948 and has been celebrated with many activities since then. The fifth day of the fifth month was traditionally called ”Tango no Sekku” in Japanese – a festival specifically for the little boys. Girls too have their own festival that falls on March 03 each year.
Activities for the Golden week 2022
Explore Shimokitazawa, the quiet neighbourhood around Tokyo
This fun and lively neighbourhood are just outside one of the world’s busiest cities; Tokyo is a great place to visit during the golden week holidays. Shimokitazawa was named the most fabulous neighbourhood in the world in 2014 by Vogue magazine. Doesn’t that give you enough reasons to visit the place?
Shimokitazawa is a youthful neighbourhood filled with small music venues, cafes, and vintage stores; you will love visiting it during the golden week holidays.
Relax by the ocean
If you are in Yokohama, there are plenty of options and sea/beach-based activities to plan for the golden week holidays. You can plan a trip on the Yokohama cruise ( there are many options available) and enjoy the wilderness of the sea with your family.
Marine Park, Yokohama
Marine Park, Yokohama is a seaside park that is yet another option you can consider visiting in your golden week holidays. The park has multiple options for children. They can enjoy soccer, rugby, football and other outdoor activities. Families can also plan barbeque picnics in the park.
The beach (tiffany)
The beach, teafanny, is a private beach where you can plan and spend an entire day. The white sand beaches are perfect for photography or spending a relaxing day at the beach. The beach, teaffany also has a café where you can treat your taste buds.
Hayama is a seaside fishing town known for its large marina and scattered fishing ports. Zushi·Hayama Station is the southern terminus of the Keikyu Zushi Line and is located 5.9 km from the junction at Kanazawa-hakkei Station and 46.8 km from Shinagawa Station in Tokyo. You can plan a whole day trip to the fishing town with family and spend some quality time there.
If you and your family are yacht fans, you must include a trip to the Hayama marina. This is also a place where you can catch a glimpse of the famous Mount Fiji. Book and enjoy a cruise in Hayama Marina.
Zushi Flim festival
This a famous open-air movie theatre. Especially popular in summers, the beach of Zushi is filled with tourists from the nearby areas to experience the open-air movie theatre. Along with the movies, there are live musical performances and open-air activities for children.
Located in the eastern part of the Kanagawa Prefecture, Muira beach is one of the favourite tourist spots. There are many sports activities that you can participate in, like scuba diving and surfing. Along with the activities, there are a lot of cafes and restaurants located in the area.
Hayama Shiosai Park
Hayama Shiosai Park is one of the parks located on the former Hayama Imperial villa site. This park has a picturesque beauty that incorporates the backdrop of Mount. Sangaoka, as well as waterfalls. You can easily spend a day here without getting bored.
Showa kinen Park
Showa Commemorative National Government Park is a national government park in Akishima and Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan. The park is spread over 160 hectares of area that boasts a variety of natural spaces, seasonal flowers, water features, museums, and sports facilities. You can spend an entire fun day here with your family and plan a barbeque picnic as the park has barbeque areas.
Yokosuka iris garden
This garden is known as one of the region’s leading and most beautiful iris parks. There are around 412 varieties of 140 thousand iris in the garden, which is a sight not to miss when they are in their full bloom.
Road trip to Tateyama
If you are a fan of road trips, this one is surely not missed during the golden week holidays. The alpine route to Tateyama is a beautiful and scenic mountain sightseeing route. There are beautiful walking trails and sights of the Japanese largest dams. Some of the hotels and restaurants along the way do have the option of mountain climbing and trekking.
On a greenery day, what is better than visiting a botanical garden? The Aloha botanical garden in Tateyama, Chiba, Japan, is an attractive option to consider for the May 04 National Greenery day. The botanical garden has a greenhouse and an outdoor area with an observation tower. The greenhouses exhibit tropical plants, butterflies, and birds.
Barbeque on the beach
What is a better family holiday celebration than having a barbeque picnic on the beach? BBQ garden Tateyama is a beautiful spot for picnic barbeques. It is a private beach where you can enjoy snorkelling, boating or sit and relax while waiting for your barbeque to grill.
Kodomonokuni Theme Park
Golden week is meant to be spent with the family. On children’s day, it is a good idea to take your kids to theamusement park near Tokyo, located in Yokohama, Japan, known as Kodomonokuni theme park. The park is more oriented towards young children than teenagers. You can easily spend an entire day at this theme park, and we promise you that your kids will not get bored.
Park around Tokyo with Koinobori
Koinobori is carp-shaped windsocks that are explicitly flown on Children’s day outside homes to wish children happy and healthy growth. It is a tradition that dates years back and is a fun activity for kids.
The top three locations in Tokyo where you can see colourful Koinobori are Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Midtown and the Tokyo Sky, just outside any park in Tokyo.
Now that you have so many fantastic suggestions for spending your Golden weeks holidays, it’s about time to pack your bags and plan your trip to any of the locations mentioned in this blog. Have a good holiday.