Golden Week is one of those rare times in Japan when everyone gets a holiday! And it is long!
*If you don’t care to know about the history of the holidays, or about the holidays, scroll down to GOLDEN WEEK 2014
What year is it? Oh, too bad.
It has the potential to be long, but because Japanese holidays go by calendar date and not by day of the week, holidays often get swallowed up by the weekend or come in the middle of the week.
Why are we celebrating? Maybe you should find out…Unsurprisingly, it most of the holidays are connected to WW2.
April 29th- Showa Day
Used to be called, “The Emperor’s Birthday,” but that holiday changes based on who is ruling. Because the old emperor was the Showa period emperor, they changed the holiday to be “Showa Day” in 2007. Before that it was “Greenery Day” because the government was reluctant to overtly refer to Emperor Hirohito.
Showa Day also happens to be the day when Emperor Hirohito’s key officials became condemned to death by the Ally forces tribunal. So, even though it was his birthday, it now is a day of reflection.
May 3- Constitution Memorial Day
On May 3rd, 1947 the current Japanese constitution came into effect. This day is a day to memorialize it. Do people ponder their democratic system on this day? This year May 3rd is a Saturday, so I’m thinking they are more likely wondering why their government holidays are allowed to fall on a Saturday.
May 4th – Greenery Day
This holiday used to fall on Emperor Showa’s birthday, because apparently he really liked plants and the government wanted to celebrate his birthday, but not explicitly link it to him. Well, in 2007 Showa Day got established and Greenery Day was then forced to knock out the current May 4th holiday, the generically named, “National Day of Rest.”
May 5th – Children’s Day
The only non-war related holiday in Golden Week! It used to be known as “Tango no Sekku,” which literally translates to “Festival of the Fifth Moon” (fifth moon in the lunar calendar). It marks the beginning of the rainy season.
In more recent times it became a time to celebrate boy’s growth and health, but it turned into a day to celebrate all children.
The most striking part of it is the “koi-nobori” (colorful carp streamers).
The carp are supposed to represent different people in the family. Red carp are women/girls, blue are men/boys.
The carp look like they are swimming, the image being that the carp are trying to swim upstream. When carp succeed in this, they can become dragons. Ever wondered why in Pokemon, a useless carp evolves into a giant sea-dragon?
GOLDEN WEEK! 2014
There are some events happening this Golden Week that you won’t want to miss out on….(maybe)
Times: Sat. 26th 10 am-6 pm, Sun 10 am-5 pm
Price: 1-Day Pass- advance purchase 1,500 yen; same-day purchase 2,000 yen
2-Day Pass- advance purchase 2,500 yen
VIP Pass: only advance purchase and only available at Animate, 1,600 yen for one day; 2,700 for a two day pass.
At Makuhari Messe, halls 1-8 (Near JR Maihama Makuhari)
If you don’t know what NicoNico Douga is…you might not want to trek out to attend this event, but it might be fun anyway. There are dozens of performers, both amateurish and famous performing on stages. For some reason, they also have an alpaca there.
Times: April 25th til May 6th
Weekdays: 16:00-22:00; Weekends/Holidays: 13:00-22:00
At Symbol Promenade Park, Central Square (closest stations are Daiba station and Tokyo Teleport)
Over 40 beer varieties to taste! Come out and enjoy Odaiba!
Times: May 2nd to May 6th; 11:00-22:00
At Komazawa Olympic Park (Komazawa Daigaku is the closest station)
I really want to go to this…It is a meat festival, what more can I say?
Food and drink vendors will be lined up, ready to fill your cup and stomach.
Go engorge yourself on meaty goodness!!
Times: April 19th to May 6th
At Kamedo Shrine (13 minutes walk from JR Kamedo Station)
Come out and see the wisteria! There will be various performances of Japanese instruments and Japanese green tea available during the festival.
Time: April 26th to May 6th
Park opening until 17:00
Costs 1,200 yen to enter Yomiuri Land. If you ride some rides then the trip might be worth it (rides are a separate price)
Sample everything from Ise udon to Utsunomiya gyoza to Sapporo ramen.
….If you really are lazy this Golden Week you can even stop by McDonald’s and pick up a avocado burger, they are out now for a limited time.