Golden Week, known as Ōgon Shūkan or Ōgata renkyū, is a time of travel and leisure in the land of the rising sun.
The Japanese Golden Weel is comprised of four national and the informal holidays taken in between those dates. As there are few public holidays in Japan, most people take this opportunity to travel both within the country and abroad.
The national holidays that make up the Golden Week are:
- April 29th: Showa day, celebrating the birthday of Emperor Showa
- May 3rd: Constitution Day
- May 4th: The Greenery day is dedicated to nature and the environment
- May 5th: Children’s day, Kodomo no hi – Boys’ Festival, Tango-no-Sekku. Girls’ Festival is celebrated on March 3rd.
The most feted of the holidays is Children’s Day. Colorful carp-shaped kites, Koinobori, are flown by families nationwide in honor of their sons.
At the National Kasumigaoka Stadium (the setting for the 1964 Olympic games) in Tokyo, tens of thousands of children and their parents participate in a “Kids’ Olympics”.
Golden Week’s Sweets
Two tasty sweets are eaten during the Golden Week in Japan: Kashiwa mochi, a steamed rice cake containing bean jam wrapped in an oak leaf; and Chimaki, a sweet, triangular dumpling weapped in bamboo leaves.
Planning a trip to Japan during the Golden Week
If you plan to travel to Japan during this time, make sure to book tickets and hotel rooms far in advance. Shops and restaurants will be open, but many businesses will be closed. Airports and long-distance trains will be packed, but the subways may actually be less busy with fewer people heading to work. Although it may be more crowded with local travelers than ususal, Golden Week is an excellent time to take in Japanese culture.
Photo of the Flower Candle Message, an event of the Golden Week by GetHiroshima.