Livable Cities & Resilient Infrastructure
Out of Office! Golden Week: Traditional Japanese Public Holidays
Are you thinking of doing business in Japan during Golden Week? Good luck!
Travel activity typically reaches a fever pitch, and many Japanese citizens & residents are out of the office during this holiday period each year. Even with covid-restriction JR Train reservations are up 60% for the 2022 holiday season.
What is Golden Week?
Golden Week is a series of four national holidays that begin at the end of April and extend into the first week of May.
It consists of Showa Day (April 29), Constitution Memorial Day (May 3), Greenery Day (May 4), and Children’s Day (May 5). Office workers often use paid leave to bridge the gaps in the workweek to ensure an extended leave. Here is a brief breakdown of each day of Japan’s Golden Week.
Showa Day is held on April 29. It celebrates the birthday of Emperor Showa. He served from 1926 until his death in 1989.
Constitution Memorial Day
On May 3, this day commemorates the enactment of the 1947 Constitution of Japan. There are no specific traditions or activities. However, the national parliament opens its doors for tours to the public in recognition.
Greenery Day falls on May 4 and is a holiday designated for appreciating nature. Coincidentally, around this time of year, the first crop of green tea leaves (ryokucha) is harvested. Gaijinpot notes that it is customary to visit gardens or tea rooms on Greenery Day.
Landing on May 5, Children’s Day is the final national holiday of Golden Week. It is also the most visible. Many people fly carp-shaped windsocks called koe-nobori to celebrate “the presence, health, happiness, and personalities of their children.”
Period of Travel
While the pandemic has reduced movement overall, domestic travel is typically popular. Hotel rates and airfare can be expensive. Many popular destinations become extremely crowded. However, Golden Week is a welcome period of refreshment from work-life that many Japanese eagerly anticipate.
Interesting fact: In Japan, any day that falls between two holidays automatically becomes a holiday itself according to the constitution! The Japanese calendar is loaded with holidays. Even both equinoxes and solstices are national holidays. Some of the more unique holidays include Mountain Day, Ocean Day, and Sports Day.
Wishing a happy Golden Week to all!