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Golden Week 2024 in Japan

Golden Week is one of the most anticipated times of the year in Japan. This annual celebration of national holidays in late April and early May is a beloved tradition that brings the country to a near standstill as people take time off work and school to travel, visit families, and enjoy the springtime.

Origins

The origins of Golden Week can be traced back to the 1950s when the Japanese government designated several national holidays that happened to fall close together in this time period. Over the decades, the name "Golden Week" stuck as the public embraced this extended holiday season.

When is Golden Week?

In 2024, Golden Week will run from April 29 to May 6. The key holidays that make up this period are:

  • Showa Day (April 29) - Commemorating the reign of Emperor Showa
  • Constitution Memorial Day (April 30) - Celebrating the enactment of Japan's post-war constitution
  • Greenery Day (May 1) - A day to appreciate nature and the environment
  • Children's Day (May 5, celebrated May 6) - Honoring the health and happiness of children

What happens during Golden Week?

With schools and many businesses closed for this 5-day stretch, the Japanese people take full advantage of the time off. Domestic travel surges as families and friends take trips to see the cherry blossoms, hike in the mountains, or simply relax at home. It's not unusual for transportation, hotels, and popular tourist spots to be completely booked out during Golden Week.

Beyond the official holidays, the spirit of Golden Week also extends to the days immediately before and after. Many workers will take additional time off, turning Golden Week into a 7-10 day vacation period. This extended break allows people to really unwind and enjoy the springtime atmosphere.

For the Japanese, Golden Week is about more than just the days off work. It's a time to connect with loved ones, appreciate nature, and celebrate the unique cultural traditions of the country. The holiday period has become deeply ingrained in the national psyche, a cherished annual ritual that brings the entire country together in celebration.

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