It’s Golden week in Japan, one of my favourite times of the year. Spring weather is refreshing and bright and I have a great break to enjoy!
Golden Week is a collection of 4 national holidays that fall within 7 days of each other. Together with well placed weekends this turns into quite a substantial welcome break. My work place is surprisingly holiday friendly and works it so we start back a few days early in April and then have the days off in between the holidays meaning I get a full 8 days off. Bliss!
Japanese people very rarely take long breaks from work, they often work on public holidays and don’t take there annual leave in big chunks, the two or three week family holiday is a complete enigma to the Japanese but Golden Week is one time when people do seem to take the time off.
For this reason Golden week is not a very good time to travel domestically or internationally as trains and airports are chocker block and hotels are well booked out in advance at premium rates.
It is however an excellent time to explore Tokyo and do day trips as the mass exodus of people out of town means it is “relatively people free” unless you go to Disneyland, that’s where you will find them, all lined up for 4 hour + to do a five minute ride or shopping as this seems to be a national pass time.
The national holidays making up the Golden Week are:
- Showa Day (Showa no hi)
April 29 The birthday of the late Hirohito, the Emperor Showa and father of the present Emperor. Until 2006, Greenery Day was celebrated on this day. (see May 4)
- Constitution Day (Kenpo kinenbi)
May 3 The new postwar constitution was put into effect on this day in 1947.
- Greenery Day (Midori no hi)
May 4 Until 2006, Greenery Day used to be celebrated on April 29. The day is dedicated to the environment and nature. The Showa Emperor was a keen botanist. It used to be a token holiday simply because it fell between 2 holidays so they decided to give it a name!
- Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi)
May 5 This is also known as Boys’ Day. The Boy’s Festival (Tango no Sekku) is celebrated. A post is looming on that. Families pray for the health and future success of their sons. They hang up carp streamers and display samurai dolls, both symbolizing strength, power and success in life. The Girls’ Festival or Hina Matsuri is celebrated on March 3. Please check out my prior post on it.
So here I am grinning like a Cheshire cat at the thought of 8 glorious days, I have friends arriving from Canada on the 1st of May and adventures planned. There may be well be an overload of blogging activity as I bought my computer home, I hope that is ok!
Today I am doing my version of the “Dance of the Patchwork Quilt” It is the “Dance of 8 loads of laundry” I am a whirling dervish of domestic activity and my guests will arrive travel weary to clean linen.
I hope your week is golden.
Yoroshiku Onegai Shimasu