Golden week - ゴールデンウィーク
Golden Week is the cumulation of four national holidays over seven days at the end of April and the beginning of May.
Depending on the year and combined with well-arranged weekends it becomes one of the most popular holiday seasons in Japan. Residents are eager to take advantage of the rare weekly holidays which prompts companies to close down. Millions of Japanese are going on a trip around their country, which is why this period is the most hectic, crowded and busy. Prices for flights, hotels are rising drastically, and on train buses or the most popular places there are hourly queues to enter or no places.
Holidays make up the Golden Week:
29th April - 昭和の日 Shōwa Day - The first day of the Golden Week. Originally, April 29 was celebrated as Tenno Tanjoubi (天皇 誕生 日) - a public holiday attributed to the birthday of Emperor Hirohito, who reigned in the years 1926-1989 in the Shōwa era. After his death, the holiday's official goal is to encourage public reflection on the turbulent 63 years of his reign.
3rd Maj - 憲法記念日 Constitutional Memorial Day - As the name suggests, this is a day dedicated to reflecting on the beginning of democracy in Japan on that day in 1947. A new post-war constitution entered into force. Before the announcement of the "post-war constitution," the Emperor of Japan was the supreme leader and was considered a direct descendant of Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun in the Shinto religion. The new constitution called the emperor "a symbol of the state and the unity of the nation." The role of the emperor as the head of state became ceremonial, and the prime minister became the head of government.
4th May - みどりの日 Greenery Day - It is a day when you can celebrate nature and show appreciation to plants. The holiday actually began in 1989 and until 2006 was celebrated on April 29, the birthday of the former Emperor Shōwa, who became famous for his love of plants and nature. Before it was declared Green Day, May 4 was a national holiday because of the law - announcing the day that falls between two national holidays, a national holiday.
5th May - こどもの日 Children’s Day - The Boys' Festival (Tango no Sekku) is celebrated on this day. Families pray for the health and future success of their sons by hanging cylindrical carp-shaped flags called koinobori on masts and displaying samurai dolls symbolizing strength, power and success in life. There are also special dishes that are being prepared for this holiday:
- kashiwa mochi is a traditional Japanese rice cake stuffed with red bean paste wrapped in an oak leaf,
- Chimaki is a Japanese dumpling made of various ingredients, wrapped in a bamboo, banana or cane leaf and steamed.
This year (2020), Golden Week, is taking place during a state of emergency announced due to a coronavirus pandemic, which is currently valid until May 6, it may be extended. The country's authorities are appealing to spend 12 free days at home - "stay home"!
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe asked citizens to refrain from leaving home and to work together to limit personal contacts to 80% during this holiday period.
- Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike called this year's Golden Week - "Stay Home Week To Save Lives". She emphasized that the fight against coronavirus is largely about limiting contacts and respecting social distance.
The Golden Week period and the whole of May is one of the most beautiful months to travel in Japan. Nevertheless, let us remain jointly and severally at home this year.