The Japanese Golden Week
The Golden Week ((ゴールデンウィーク) is a short period of the year, between the months of April and May, during which in Japan they celebrate as many as 4 national holidays:
- Showa Day
(昭和の日, Showa no hi)
On this day they celebrate the birthday of Emperor Showa, born on April 29, 1901 and died in 1989.
All these national holidays were promulgated in 1948, just under the reign of this emperor, and that is the reason why this day was instituted, which until 1989 was just the celebration of the Emperor's birthday. After his death, the holiday was abolished, and was reintroduced in 2007 as a day in which to reflect on the turbulent years of the reign of Showa, which were marked by several coup attempts, the rise of fascism, the Second World War and the difficult post-war period until the rise of Japan as a major force in the world;
- Constitution Memorial Day
(憲法記念日, Kenpo Kinenbi)
On this day we celebrate the anniversary of the promulgation of the new Constitution of Japan after the Second World War, which took place just on May 3, 1947;
- Greenery Day
(みどりの日, Midori no Hi)
This holiday was instituted in 1989 and celebrated on April 29 until 2007, when it was moved to May 4. Before 1989, this day was the same a holiday, because of a law according to which a day sandwiched between two national holidays is also a national holiday.
- Children's day
(こどもの日, Kodomo no Hi)
A holiday dedicated to children (both male and female), the only of the Golden Week which has a long tradition.
Before being established in 1948, it was already celebrated as the Tango no Sekku (Boys Day) for almost 1500 years (while on March 3 it was and is still celebrated the Hinamatsuri
, dedicated to girls).
The day before this holiday, it is a tradition among families to hang flags in the shape of carp (koinobori
) outside the house, one for each child.
koinobori waving in the sky
, the International Workers' Day, is not officially recognized as a national holiday, but is however recognized by many companies.
During this time of year, many companies close for 7 or 10 days, and this is often the longest holiday period for many Japanese workers, who take the opportunity to travel, within Japan and abroad.
If you are in Japan in this period, the prices of flights and hotels skyrocket (it is high season), and you might also have trouble to find train tickets or hotel rooms, as well as finding long queues to visit the most famous places .
I definitely don't recommend to visit Japan during the Golden Week
Guided tours, activities and other things to do
If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to add something special besides the visit of the different monuments and famous places, we suggest you to use the site Govoyagin
. This is a very useful site to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan and, for language barriers and more, and you will not have many opportunities to interact with the locals and to enjoy something different from the famous places marked in the tourist guides.
What Govoyagin is
Govoyagin is a website where you can find many particular activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan).
You can buy tickets online for some famous attractions, but also book tours and really special experiences with locals ready to guide you and take you to places outside the tourist circuits that you would hardly ever find by yourself. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.
On Govoyagin you can buy tickets in advance to visit the Tokyo Tower
or the Tokyo Sky Tree
, but also book guided tours of Kyoto temples accompanied by a samurai
, or to go around the streets of Osaka on a go-kart dressed as Super Mario
, or even play videogames against an unbeatable Japanese otaku at his place
Last but not least, if you need to reserve your table in some restaurants, such as the legendary 3-star Michelin
, also in this case you can find this kind of service for sale on Govoyagin.
Take a look at Govoyagin
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