Golden week is known as “Ogon Shukan” or “Ogata renkyu” in Japan, the land of rising sun. A golden week is a collection of four informal and national holidays that fall between these dates or week combine to give 7-10 days of break. During this week people travel within the country and abroad and have leisure time. Golden week is one of the busiest Japanese calendar periods in Tokyo and Japan. Many companies are closed during this period including retail outlets and restaurants. Trains, airports and bus fares will increase and sightseeing spots will be crowded during this time and you need to book accommodation in advance.
The term golden week dates back to 1951 when the managing director of Daiei films noticed that there is a peak in number of movie goers on the national holiday dates, it reminded him of the phrase golden time which was used on radio to describe peak listening hours. Then he named this period as golden week in the film industry and slowly the term became very familiar and it became famous in Japan.
What is the Showa Day?
May 3: Constitution Day (Kenpo Kinenbi), new post war constitution was put into effect on May 3rd, 1947. This day particularly emphasizes the prohibition of war, human rights and sovereignty of the people with the emperor a symbol of unity of the people.
May 4: Greenery day (Midori no hi), this day is dedicated to environment and nature, and the emperor Showa’s birthday who loved plants and nature.
May 5: Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi), is the boy’s festival (Tango no sekku), where families pray for the health and future success of their sons by hanging up carp streamers and displaying samurai dolls, which symbolize strength, power and success in life.
March 3rd is celebrated as “Girl’s Day” or the hina matsuri is a celebration of happiness and good life for the girls but this is not a public holiday. The May weather is mild i.e., neither too cold nor too hot and pale pinks and purples of spring flowers garland the trees and bushes and it is a perfect time for travelling. Festivals and parades celebrated during this time with fireworks and “mikoshi” (special floats) are seen everywhere. It is the best time to see Japanese cultures and events. Popular destinations are booked in advance.
Government introduced this idea to stimulate spending and it worked as 28 million people in their own country played as tourists and were ready to spend $1.62 billion. And now golden weeks were made mandatory. After New Year and Obon week, golden week is the second most vacation period from school to work and highly profitable period for the government.
Flights and buses are overbooked and crowded
Highways are congested in every direction.
Hotel rates are sky high
Even soft drink vendors charge more.