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A crowded down Tokyo street at night during Golden Week.
A crowded down Tokyo street at night during Golden Week.

Golden Week: What It Is and How To Celebrate It

Thuy FangThuy Fang
Published Time
Posted on March 30, 2023
Modified Time
Updated last March 30, 2023

Golden Week is a week-long holiday in Japan celebrated in late April and early May. It’s a good time for all Japanese people to spend their days off to travel, relax, and spend time with family and friends. 

Let’s learn more about Golden Week in Japan and some of the most popular activities and destinations you can experience this time of year! Keep in mind that places might be crowded due to increased travel!

What is Golden Week?

This long week lasts from April 28 to May 5 annually, and it became one of the most extended holidays of the year apart from New Year and Obon festival. Golden Week in Japan is a combination of four consecutive national holidays.

Showa No Hi (Showa Day)

Showa Day takes place on April 29. It marks the birthday of the late Emperor Showa (Hirohito), who passed away in 1989. To date, his imperial rule is the longest in Japanese history.

A bunch of roses at Showa Memorial Park.
Showa Day is in honor of Emperor Hirohito. Image via Shutterstock

The holiday aims to drive public reflection on the 63 years of Hirohito’s rule, which spanned from totalitarianism to the post-war rebuilding and transformation into a democratic nation.

Kenpo Kinenbi (Constitution Day)

The Japanese Constitution Building in Nagatacho, Tokyo.
This day celebrates the anniversary of the post-WWII Japanese Constitution. Image via Shutterstock

Kenpo Kinenbi occurs annually on May 3. On this day, Japan celebrates the adoption of its constitution in 1947. The new postwar constitution went into force on this date at that time.

Midori No Hi (Greenery Day)

Greenery Day used to fall on April 29, the former Emperor Showa’s birthday. Now, people celebrate it on May 4. The emperor appreciated flora and the natural world. Therefore, this day honors the environment and how we should appreciate it more.

A bunch of brilliant green teas during Greenery Day on Golden Week.
Greenery Day is in honor of the environment. Image via Shutterstock

Also, the fourth of May was formerly a national holiday before it was designated Greenery Day. This is just one of many holidaMarch 3 was rearranged during this time.

Kodomo No Hi (Children’s Day)

Although it is children’s day, Kodomo no Hi is the day of the Boy’s Festival in Japan (Tango no Sekku). Kodomo no Hi is on May 5, following Girl’s Day (Hina Matsuri) on March 3 every year. 

A bunch of koi carp kites hung on a pole in the countryside during Golden Week.
Koinobori is a type of carp kite. Image via Shutterstock

Some items standing for strength, power, and victory, like Samurai dolls and carp streamers, are displayed by many Japanese families as a kind of prayer for their boys’ well-being and future prosperity. 

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Fun Things to Enjoy during the Golden Week

Visit fascinating shrines!

Kameido Tenjin and Nezu are the two most popular shrines that Japanese people visit on Showa Day. During the Golden Week season, Kameido Tenjin Shrine is renowned for its lavish purple wisteria blossoms.

The outside of Nezu Shine during Golden Week.
Nezu Shrine is home to many lovely azalea flowers. Image via Shutterstock

In addition, there are even light-up activities at night to appreciate the area’s shining delights. Nezu Shrine is one of the lovely shrines to visit in the springtime, and it’s also notable for the vibrant azalea flowers that cover its whole area.

Enjoy fun festivals!

There are two unique festivals during Golden Week that you should attend! The number of people participating in these events is significantly large yearly during these long national holidays.

Craft Gyoza Fest

Usually, this event took place in Komazawa Olympic Park from April 29 through May 8. Craft Gyoza Fest will feature more than 20 food stalls. You can enjoy various gyoza (Japanese dumplings) there, such as Omi beef, black pork, and lobster gyoza. 

A person eating gyoza dumplings during Golden Week.
The Craft Gyoza Festival offers all kinds of delicious flavors! Image via Shutterstock

In addition to the main dish, gyoza, there are other delicious dishes like Japanese chicken wings. There are craft beer booths at the festival where you can easily find many limited-edition craft beers! 

Koinobori Festival at Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Skytree will have a Koinobori Festival from April 8 to May 8, 2018. This event is for Children’s Day by hanging a variety of beautiful koi or carp streamers in the air.

Carp kites hanging outside of Tokyo Tower on a clear day.
Children’s Day involves the flying of carp kites. Image via Shutterstock

Moreover, you may capture some lovely images of the swimming koi with the view of Tokyo Skytree. After taking some photos, Furthermore, you can also go to the deck of the Tokyo Skytree to indulge yourself in the breathtaking landscape of Tokyo. 

Take a stroll at colorful parks on Greenery Day!

One of the ideal and appropriate things to do during the nature holiday is to visit flower gardens or parks. Ashikaga Flower Park and Showa Memorial Park may be on the first place of your visiting list on the Golden Week. 

Pink tulips in Showa Memorial Park during Golden Week.
Showa Memorial Park has many flower gardens. Image via Shutterstock

Showa Memorial Park is a large park hosting a flower festival where lovely plants and flowers, such as poppies and tulips, are displayed. And the Ashikaga Flower Park is a stunning and excellent location covered with fancy wisteria blooms. 

How to Celebrate Golden Week at Home

Order food!

During the Golden Week, well-known restaurants in Japan, such as Yoshinoya, KFC, and McDonald’s, will have many promotional campaigns or offer great family combos.

A plastic KFC food display during Golden Week.
There are a lot of special menus during Golden Week! Image via Shutterstock

Not only that, but it’s also a golden time for you to try limited-edition foods, especially McDonald’s chicken nuggets with cheddar cheese and corn potage soup flavored sauces 

Make origami figures!

A frequent DIY activity you should try at home during Golden Week is origami. This event is a great crafting activity you can experience with your family or friends on Children’s Day. Koi carp flags and samurai helmets are iconic shapes to create to celebrate this holiday.

A bunch of colorful origami crane figurines hung above a lake.
Origami is a beautiful and practical artform. Image via Shutterstock

We hope this has given you a better understanding of Golden Week – one of Japan’s most important periods of the year. Which activities would you like to try during Golden Week? Let us know in the comments below!

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