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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:

April 29 - 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;

May 3 - 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;

May 4 - 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.

May 5 - 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 kodomo no hi koinobori waving in the sky
May 1, 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 do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Rakuten Travel Experiences.

How to use Rakuten Travel Experiences

Rakuten Travel is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Rakuten Travel you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Rakuten Travel you can also buy tickets for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.

Some examples

Take a look at Rakuten Travel Experiences

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