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Golden Week – Don’t let it Tarnish your Trip!

April 22, 2008

Golden Week – Don’t let it Tarnish your Trip!

You may have heard of Golden Week if you live in a popular destination for Japanese tourists but do you really know what Golden Week is?  Golden Week runs from Tuesday, April 29th through Tuesday, May 6th, 2008 and there are four national holidays during this 8 day period.  Many Japanese take this opportunity to maximize their vacation days and plan overseas trips or trips within Japan during this period. 

Many smaller business close completely during this period so if you are planning a trip to Tokyo during Golden Week be sure to confirm that any of the more offbeat places that you plan on visiting will be open.  Most touristy destinations and larger stores are not affected by these closures.

If you plan on visiting or transiting through Tokyo during this period expect extremely heavy traffic at the airports and on the trains and roadways.  Tourist destinations are also very crowded so be prepared.

So how did Golden Week get it’s name?  “Golden Week” is a variation “Golden Time”, a term used by Japanese radio to identify the period with the highest listener ratings.  In 1951, the managing director of Daiei Films coined the term when he noticed that during this period of national holidays in early May the attendance at movie theaters spiked.  Participation and revenue resulting from other leisure activities also rose dramatically during this timeframe and the moniker “Golden Week” stuck. 

Here is a list of the national holidays during Golden Week:

April 29th – Showa Day (Showa no hi)The birthday of former Emperor Showa who died in 1989.

May 3rd – Constitution Day (Kenpo kinenbi)

On this day in 1947, the new post war constitution was put into effect.

May 4th – Greenery Day (Midori no hi)

The day is dedicated to the environment and nature and was formerly celebrated in combination with Showa Day due to the Emperor’s love of plants and nature.

May 5th – Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi)

Formerly Boy’s Day, this is the day when families pray for the health and future success of their children.

Photo Credit: Flickr, 57192769    Source: Wikipedia, Golden Week (Japan)