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Golden Week (Japan)

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Golden Week
Official nameゴールデンウィーク (Gōruden Wīku)
Also calledŌgon Shūkan (黄金週間, lit.'golden week')
Haru no Ōgata Renkyū (春の大型連休, lit.'long spring holiday series')
Observed by Japan
CelebrationsNumerous national holiday events
Date29 April – 5 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 holiday period in Japan from 29 April to 5 May containing multiple public holidays.[1] It is also known as Haru no Ōgata Renkyū (春の大型連休, Long spring holiday series).

One of Japan's largest holiday periods of the year, Golden Week often sees a surge in vacation travel throughout the country.[2] Despite the name, only 4 days of the week are officially designated as public holidays, with workers often opting to take the full week off.

Holidays celebrated[edit]

Golden Week encompasses the following public holidays.[3]

Golden Week holidays
Name Date
Showa Day (昭和の日, Showa no Hi), 2007–present[4] 29 April
Constitution Memorial Day (憲法記念日, Kenpō Kinenbi), 1949–present 3 May
Greenery Day (みどりの日, Midori no Hi), 2007–present[4] 4 May
Children's Day (子供の日, Kodomo no Hi), also known as Boys' Day or the Feast of Banners, traditionally celebrated as Tango no Sekku (端午の節句). 5 May

Note that Citizen's Holiday (国民の休日, Kokumin no Kyūjitsu) is a generic term for any official holiday. Until 2006, 4 May was 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.[5] 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.[6] 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 to Greenery Day (みどりの日, Midori no Hi).[4] In 2007, Greenery Day was moved to 4 May, and 29 April was renamed Shōwa Day to commemorate the late Emperor.[4] The Emperor's Birthday (天長節, Tenchō Setsu) was celebrated from 1927 to 1948 and it is now called The Emperor's Birthday (天皇誕生日, Tennō Tanjōbi). Emperor Naruhito's birthday is on 23 February.[7]

Transition to Reiwa period (2019)[edit]

Golden Week in 2019 was particularly long due to the imperial transition, with the succession of new Emperor Naruhito, son of Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko, who reigned as an enthronement on 1 May, and as well as designated as an additional national holiday. This day was marks an official beginning of new Japanese period, Reiwa. As of between 29 April and 5 May are already holidays, this caused 30 April and 2 May to be public holidays as well, making 2019's Golden Week at about ten consecutive days, from Saturday 27 April through Monday 6 May.[8]

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2021)[edit]

From January 2020 to September 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic in Japan, then-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the Golden Week Festival will be cancelled the celebration at the first time amid the government declared the first state of emergency to prevent the spread of virus, which extended from 7 April to 29 May.[citation needed] Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged to closed all schools, universities, and colleges, and as well as businesses in Kantō region were discouraged holiday travel during Golden Week to prevent the spread of infection. Japanese residents in Tokyo were advised to stay home for Stay Home Week (ステイホーム週間, Sutei hōmu shūkan).[9][10] The rebranded "Stay Home Week to Save Lives" ran from 25 April through 6 May.[11][12] Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura urged closed schools on between 7 and 8 May, and businesses in Kansai region were encouraged to extend the holiday period through the weekend until 11 May.[13] Also, in late April 2021, then-Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that the Golden Week Festival will be cancelled the celebration at the second time amid the government declared the third state of emergency following COVID-19 infection surge.[citation needed]

Just two years after the cancellation of muted celebrations, Golden Week Festival has returned in Japan, which began between 29 April and 5 May 2022 (without the inssurence of a COVID-19 state of emergency (during the Omicron time in the first 18-month-period)). Although many Golden Week festivals are resumed including Hakata Dontaku, Hamamatsu Kite Festival, Hiroshima Flower Festival, and among others, which held across the nationwide for the first time since the Reiwa period begin in 2019.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]


Golden Week is a popular time for holiday travel, such as many Japanese travel domestically and to a lesser extent internationally.[citation needed]


The Takatsuki Jazz Street Festival is held during Golden Week.[14] It has two days of live jazz performances with 300 acts and over 3,000 artists in 72 different locations in-and-around the center of Takatsuki in northern Osaka.[14]


The Super GT Fuji 500 km car race is held on 4 May and has become synonymous with that date in Golden Week,[15] but it was cancelled amid COVID-19 infection surge.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Also ゴールデンウイーク, Gōruden Uīku


  1. ^ "Do Not Come To Japan This Week". Kotaku.
  2. ^ "Do Not Come To Japan This Week". Kotaku.
  3. ^ "Les jours fériés du calendrier japonais" (in French). Nippon Communications Foundation. 28 April 2015. Archived from the original on 1 November 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2019..
  4. ^ a b c d "Golden Week". Japan-guide.com. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  5. ^ "Golden Week in Japan - Japanese Golden Week". Gojapan.about.com. 3 May 1947. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  6. ^ "ゴールデンウィーク – 語源由来辞典". Gogen-allguide.com. 27 April 2004. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  7. ^ "「国民の祝日」について" [About "national holiday"]. Cabinet Office (Japan). Archived from the original on 29 March 2021. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Government to designate May 1, day of new Emperor's accession, as public holiday, creating 10-day Golden Week in 2019". Japan Times. 12 October 2018.
  9. ^ "「ステイホーム週間」初日の各地 "ゴルフ"やパチンコ店は大勢の人". FNNプライムオンライン. Fuji News Network. Archived from the original on 27 May 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  10. ^ "「STAY HOME 週間」ポータルサイト|東京都". www.koho.metro.tokyo.lg.jp. Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Archived from the original on 26 April 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Coronavirus Cases in Japan by Prefecture". nippon.com. 27 April 2020.
  12. ^ "「ステイホーム週間」初日 都内の商店街では自主休業". NHKニュース. NHK.
  13. ^ "大阪府立学校 来月8日まで休校|NHK 関西のニュース". NHK NEWS WEB. NHK. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Takatsuki Jazz Street Festival". Alongwalker. 1 March 2022. Archived from the original on 4 May 2022.
  15. ^ "2021 Fuji 500km Preview: The Golden Week Tradition Returns!". Dailysportscar. 2 May 2021. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021.