Golden Week is a big deal in Japan. Started in 1948, Golden Week is one of the longest holiday seasons in the country. During this time, the perfect spring weather usually calls for travel and outdoor fun.
Spelled in katakana, the script used for English loan words, the name 'Golden Week' was coined in 1951 after the phrase ‘golden time’, which was widely used by the Japanese radio industry to refer to primetime listening hours. With so many holidays clustered together in Golden Week, a larger-than-usual number of people tuned in to the radio, attended movie theatres and spent money on leisure activities.
Starting at the end of April and finishing in the first week of May, Golden Week consists of four national holidays which sometimes line up with the weekend when luck is on our side. This year, we'll get a five-day weekend starting on Saturday May 1 and ending on Wednesday May 5.
Golden Week is usually the busiest travel season, with many city dwellers travelling internationally and domestic tourists returning home on packed bullet trains and buses. This year, however, Golden Week will look very different due to the state of emergency in place in Tokyo and other parts of Japan. The holidays will definitely be more subdued, and if you're spending the long weekend in the city, we have the guide for you.
Here are the four holidays that make up Golden Week.
Recommended: How to spend Golden Week in Tokyo this year