Golden Week in Japan, often written as GW for short, is a week starting from April the 29th to May the 5th, which includes the following 4 national holidays:
- Showa Day (April 29th)
- Constitution Memorial Day (May 3rd)
- Greenery Day (May 4th)
- Children’s Day (May 5th)
Although April the 30th, May the 1st, and May the 2nd are not officially national holidays in Japan, depending on the year, one or two dates can fall on Saturday and/or Sunday. If not, a lot of Japanese people try to take paid holidays on those days to make a 7 to 10-day holiday as most companies are closed during the Golden Week period.
When is Golden Week this year?
In 2022, there are two 3-day holidays – the first one is a long weekend from April the 29th to May the 1st, and the other is a 3-day holiday from May the 3rd to May the 5th, with Greenery Day on May the 4th being a holiday as well.
By taking May the 2nd or May the 6th off from work, as many Japanese people have, it’s a 7-day or 6-day holiday. For those looking to get a longer break, they’ve taken both May the 2nd and May the 6th off, giving themselves an extended 10-day holiday from April the 29th to May the 8th.
This time of year in Japan, traditionally a lot of festivals and events are held, and as the weather is usually quite nice and warm, Japanese people tend to take an advantage of going to some festivals and events, taking a trip or visiting flower parks and theme parks.
For this year though, as the COVID-19 situation hasn’t subsided yet, a lot of Japanese people seem to be staying at home and doing nothing, just relaxing, or trying to do some cooking or baking cakes at home.
Where do Japanese people go for Golden Week?
While many people in Japan are staying home or hanging around nearby during this Golden Week, more people are visiting their parents or travelling this year than 2020 and 2021.
For those who are taking a vacation during this Golden Week period, the most popular domestic destination looks like Okinawa including Miyakojima and Ishigaki Island, where you can do marine sports activities as the weather gets very warm to hot there (26 to 29 degrees Celsius) in May.
Okinawa consists of about 160 small and large islands in the Pacific Ocean, and is located in the southwestern part of Japan. Okinawa is famous for its beautiful blue sea and white sandy beaches. This subtropical paradise is less than 2.5 hours away from Tokyo by plane, and it’s a fantastic place to visit for sure.
At the time of writing this article (May 2, 2022), unfortunately foreign tourists are still not permitted to enter Japan, but hopefully all the COVID-19 related travel restrictions in Japan will be lifted soon.
Are you interested in Japanese traditions?
We’ll be keeping you informed about other Japanese spring and summer holidays and traditions in upcoming posts. One that happens earlier in the year is Setsubun, which you can read all about in our Setsubun article on bean throwing, devil chasing, and Eho-maki fortune rolls.