Golden Week (Japan)

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Golden Week
Observed by Japan
Type National
Date April 29, May 3–5
Frequency annual

Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク Gōruden Wīku?), often abbreviated to GW, is a Japanese term applied to the period containing a number of holidays.

Holidays celebrated[edit]

Note that "kokumin no kyūjitsu" or "citizen's holiday" is a generic term for any official holiday. May 4 was until 2007 an unnamed but official holiday because of a rule that converts any day between two holidays into a new holiday. May Day is not a public holiday. Instead, Japan has Labour Thanksgiving Day, a holiday with a similar purpose. When a public holiday lands on a Sunday, the next day that is not already a holiday becomes a holiday for that year.[3] In some cases, a Compensation Holiday (振替休日 Furikae Kyūjitsu?) is held on either April 30 or May 6 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.[4] At the time, April 29 was a national holiday celebrating the birth of the Shōwa Emperor. Upon his death in 1989, the day was renamed "Greenery Day."[2] In 2007, Greenery Day was moved to May 4, and April 29 was renamed Shōwa Day to commemorate the late Emperor.[2]

Current practice[edit]

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, and 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Japanese Holidays". Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Golden Week". 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  3. ^ "Golden Week in Japan - Japanese Golden Week". 1947-05-03. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  4. ^ "ゴールデンウィーク - 語源由来辞典". Retrieved 2010-02-05.