Golden Week (Japan)
|Official name||Ōgon Shūkan (黄金週間)|
|Date||29 April, 3–6 May|
Golden Week (Japanese: ゴールデンウィーク, Hepburn: Gōruden Wīku)[a] or Ōgon Shūkan (黄金週間) is a week from the 29th of April to early May containing a number of Japanese holidays. It is also known as Ōgata Renkyū (大型連休, "long holiday series").
- 29 April
- 3 May
- Constitution Memorial Day (憲法記念日, Kenpō Kinenbi), 1949–present
- 4 May
- 5 May
Note that "kokumin no kyūjitsu" or "citizen's holiday" is a generic term for any official holiday. 4 May was until 2006 an unnamed but official holiday because of a rule that converts any day between two holidays into a new holiday. Japan celebrates Labor Thanksgiving Day, a holiday with a similar purpose to May Day (as celebrated in Europe and North America). When a public holiday lands on a Sunday, the next day that is not already a holiday becomes a holiday for that year. In some cases, a Compensation Holiday (振替休日, Furikae Kyūjitsu) is held on either 30 April or 6 May should any of the Golden Week holidays fall on Sunday; 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 have had Compensation Holidays for Shōwa Day, Children's Day, Greenery Day, and Constitution Memorial Day, respectively.
The National Holiday Laws, promulgated in July 1948, declared nine official holidays. Since many were concentrated in a week spanning the end of April to early May, many leisure-based industries experienced spikes in their revenues. The film industry was no exception. In 1951, the film Jiyū Gakkō recorded higher ticket sales during this holiday-filled week than any other time in the year (including New Year's and Obon). This prompted the managing director of Daiei Film Co., Ltd. to dub the week "Golden Week" based on the Japanese radio lingo "golden time", which denotes the period with the highest listener ratings. At the time, 29 April was a national holiday celebrating the birth of the Shōwa Emperor. Upon his death in 1989, the day was renamed "Greenery Day". In 2007, Greenery Day was moved to 4 May, and 29 April was renamed Shōwa Day to commemorate the late Emperor.
Many Japanese nationals take paid time off during this holiday, and some companies are closed down completely and give their employees time off. Golden Week is the longest vacation period of the year for many Japanese workers. Two other Japanese holidays are observed for most or all of a week: Japanese New Year in January and Obon Festival in August.
Golden Week is a popular time for holiday travel. Despite significantly higher rates, flights, trains, and hotels are often fully booked. Popular destinations include Asia, Guam, Saipan, and Hawaii, major cities on the West Coast of North America such as Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, and Vancouver, and a number of cities in Europe and Australia.
Transition to Reiwa
Golden Week in 2019 was particularly long due to the 2019 Japanese imperial transition, with the succession of the new emperor on 1 May designated as an additional national holiday. The day marks the official beginning of the new Reiwa era. As 29 April and 3 May are already holidays, this caused 30 April and 2 May to be public holidays as well, making 2019's Golden Week ten consecutive days, from Saturday 27 April through Monday 6 May.
Impact of COVID-19 pandemic
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike discouraged holiday travel during "Golden Week" to prevent the spread of infection. Tokyo residents were advised to stay home for Stay Home Week (ステイホーム週間, Sutei hōmu shūkan). The rebranded "Stay Home Week to Save Lives" ran from April 25 through to May 6. Osaka governor Hirofumi Yoshimura closed schools on May 7 and 8 and businesses in the Kansai region were encouraged to extend the holiday period through the weekend until May 11.
- Also ゴールデンウイーク, Gōruden Uīku
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