It’s hard to believe this is the 3rd Golden Week that tourists have been unable to travel to Japan, but as the National holiday period is about to commence, we thought we’d take another look at what it’s all about.

Golden Week or GW is essentially a collection of 4 public holidays that span 7 days beginning on April 29 and ending on May 5, however, there is a lot more to GW than a week-long holiday.

The first public holiday of GW is Showa no Hi  Showa Day on April 29, which celebrates the birthday of the Showa Emperor (1926-1989). This is followed by Kenpo Kinenbi  Constitution Memorial Day on May 3, Midori no Hi  Greenery Day on May 4  and finally Kodomo no Hi  Children’s Day on May 5. You can read more about each of these days from the above links.

The first GW was held in 1948 when Japan’s constitution created the National Holidays Act, declaring that national holidays are days that all citizens should celebrate and give thanks for the development of a better society and a richer life.

Although GW is technically only 7 days and only 4 of these days are public holidays, depending on where you work it’s sometimes possible to stretch GW out to 9 days or more using the weekends and taking one or two extra weekdays off work. This year is one such year, as April 29 falls on a Friday and many Japanese have already begun their GW holiday and many will take May 6th off as well, making GW 2022 a wonderful 10 day vacation!!

For the average Aussie, an ten-day holiday probably sounds a bit stingy, but for most Japanese who on average only take 10 days of paid leave per year (usually non consecutive), GW is a wonderful long guilt-free holiday period that everyone looks forward to.

The name Golden Week is said to have been created by the broadcasting industry who referred to the long holiday period as “golden time.” Then the movie industry is said to have coined the term “Golden Week” because of the increase in cinema ticket sales during the long holiday, so in a sense the idea of Golden Week was perhaps inspired by the golden age of Hollywood.

In pre-COVID times when holiday plans were only hindered by the number of vacation days and budget, more than 24 million Japanese would travel during GW.  The majority of Japanese travel domestically during GW but according to 2019 data, more than 585,000 Japanese travelled overseas during GW in 2018 and while the most popular destinations were: Korea, China, Taiwan and Hawaii some ventured as far as Australia, USA, Canada and Europe.

So, next time you’re planning a trip to Japan, talk to our expert consultants who can advise you where to enjoy Japan even during the busy Golden Week holiday period!