Golden Week   ゴールデンウィーク

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Professional leisure and entertainment have seen an increase in their revenue during Golden Week.

Professional leisure and entertainment have seen an increase in their revenue during Golden Week.

We take advantage of the good weather, gardens, friends and family during the Golden Week.

We take advantage of the good weather, gardens, friends and family during the Golden Week.

Golden Week is a great time to catch the ferry and join the Izu islands off Tokyo.

Golden Week is a great time to catch the ferry and join the Izu islands off Tokyo.

A Niijima beautiful beaches are very popular during the Golden Week.

A Niijima beautiful beaches are very popular during the Golden Week.

All the golden week in Okinawa, cultural events are organized by the residents themselves.

All the golden week in Okinawa, cultural events are organized by the residents themselves.

Golden Week, a week to make his perfect festive holidays.

Golden Week, a week to make his perfect festive holidays.

National Holidays - from April 29th to May 5th

Throughout the year, Japan honors its reputation as a country of paradox between religious celebrations, ceremonial and commercial ones. For visitors, it's good to know these festivals that animate the archipelago.

Japanese workers have twenty days of vacation throughout the year but it's very rare that they take them. However, they readily take advantage of national holidays to blow off steam, especially during Golden Week. This week is actually composed of several consecutive holidays. The Japanese then put their holidays to work. For tourists spots, this week is one of the busiest time of the year to go on vacation along with New Years and Obon.

Dates of Golden Week

The frenzy of the journey begins with the first of four public holidays: April 29th, the anniversary of Emperor Showa, known under the name of Hirohito (1901-1989). The 3rd and 4th of May respectively are days to celebrate the Constitution and nature. Finally, the series ends on May 5th with Children's Day.

Why is it called Golden Week?

Originally called Golden Week, leisure and entertainment saw an increase in their revenue during this period. Of course with the holidays, the Japanese will more easily go to the cinema, for example. Revenues hit record highs, so industry leaders called this week Golden Week. Also, it is a reference to the radio program with the best audience ratings called Golden Time. This name was then adopted by the population as a reference to these holidays. Much of businesses and schools are also closed during this week.

Traveling in Japan during Golden Week

Golden Week falls during a period when it's very pleasant to travel in Japan. It's thus tempting to leave during this week. But, be aware that almost everyone in Japan has the same idea! Japanese television often send reporters to Narita Airport, Tokyo Station or other crowded places to broadcast live information on the peak of tourist activity during the week. Most of the popular tourist sites in particular are mobbed by crowds of visitors.  Hotels and flights can get pricey.

If you must travel during this period, take the train. And to avoid traveling on the subway during rush hour, and book your tickets in advance! Make sure also to have booked your accommodation. The Japanese plan months in advance for their trip this week. It is therefore very difficult to leave unexpectedly during Golden Week especially to destinations like Kyoto , Nara and Miyajima .

Kamakura, Chichibu, Okutama and Mount Takao are good destinations for a day trip from Tokyo. For regions such as Nikko and Hakone, one should plan on spending a night or two.

Golden Week is also a great time to catch the ferry to the Izu islands off Tokyo. This group of islands enjoys a milder climate than the main island during this time of year. You will also avoid the islands usual crowds of July and August. On the island of Oshima, take time to enjoy the onsen and the zoo. For the very fit, the volcano can be a trip of just a few hours. Niijima offers beautiful beacheshot springs and campsites for free. A little further on the island of Mikurajima, you can swim with dolphins! The season is open for watching from March to October.

Remember that Golden Week is celebrated on all the islands of Japan including Hokkaido, Shikoku and Okinawa! In the southern most island of the Japan, Okinawa, offers many cultural events during the golden week. Most traditional festivals are organized by the islanders themselves. This is a great time to discover the traditions of Okinawa.

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