Celebrating Golden Week in Japan

Golden Week is one of Japan's most vibrant holiday periods and started last week, from April 29 to May 6. This week-long celebration marks four national holidays, making it one of Japan's busiest vacation seasons, alongside New Year and Obon’s week.

The week begins on April 29 with Showa Day, honoring the late Emperor Showa. This is followed by Constitution Day on May 3, celebrating Japan's post-war constitution, enacted in 1947. Greenery Day on May 4 emphasizes environmental appreciation - a day dedicated to the environment, reflecting the late Emperor’s love for plants and nature. The week concludes with Children's Day on May 5, which celebrates the health and future success of children; traditionally focusing on sons with traditional carp streamers and samurai dolls - symbols of strength, power, and success in life, although recent trends also include festivities for daughters.

During Golden Week, many Japanese travel with family or return to hometowns. This period is a time for festive gatherings and enjoying Japan’s rich cultural tapestry.

People can view colorful Koinobori flying outside houses, symbolizing hopes for a prosperous future. These streamers typically represent the family structure, featuring carps for the father, mother, and children, with a special five-colored carp often added.

Traditional activities take place during Golden Week, including participating in the Hamamatsu Festival from May 3 to May 5. This festival is particularly special as it celebrates the first male child in the family, though recent trends include celebrations for girls too. The festival is famous for its kite flying competitions, where each town flies a kite to celebrate children, and the display of ornate festival cars called Goten-yatai, adding a spectacular visual element to the festivities.

Golden Week is a rich cultural experience, deeply embedded with tradition and communal spirit. It offers both locals and visitors a chance to engage in Japan’s festive customs and appreciate its deep-rooted cultural heritage.