You’ve definitely heard about Golden Week, Japan’s longest holiday, because of the massive sales at all of the retailers.
But, did you know that everyone in the country takes a week off during Golden Week? Hotels in Japan fill up months in advance, and the extra cost of transportation is because people are treating it like a vacation.
There are many more hidden deep within and behind these festivities. Here’s a rundown of the events that take place during Japan’s Golden Week holidays, as well as some amusing facts to help you learn more about the occasion.
I. Why is it named “the golden week”?
Historically, “Golden Week” dates back to 1951. Daiei, a famous Japanese film studio, came up with the term “Golden Week” to describe a period of time when new releases are released. A picture produced by Daiei over these weeks in 1951 earned the studio its largest box office take to date. It was a “great week” for the business, bringing in record profits.
Daiei’s then-CEO, Hideo Matsuyama, was so pleased with the company’s performance over the Christmas season that he coined the term “Golden Week” – a play on the term “Golden Time” used in the radio business to describe the time of day with the greatest listening rate.
The business found the term “Golden Week” to be a highly marketable name. As a result, the term “Holiday Movie Madness” was adopted for use in advertising to draw in crowds during the weeks leading up to major holidays. The term is like a teaser advertisement, suggesting that those who take advantage of these weeks would have some of the best chances to see movies all year.
In Japan, the end of April through the beginning of May is the season with the greatest weather of the year, perfect for doing anything outdoors. Because of this, even those who weren’t planning on visiting the movies during this time began referring to it as the Golden Week.
Daiei later coined the term “Silver Week” to describe the week of celebration surrounding Culture Day in November, but the term never caught on. This may have occurred since there is just one federal holiday during the week of November.
A little more than a week-long, Golden Weeks are punctuated by four consecutive national holidays, plus two Saturdays and two Sundays. Many people are required to work on the official public holidays, but those who take advantage of their vacation time may be able to take off as many as nine or ten days in a row.
The beginning of golden week Japan, on April 29, was originally a celebration of Emperor Showa’s birthday. After the emperor’s death in 1989, the day was scheduled to be taken off the calendar. But that would have cut the Golden Week short, and with only two national holidays instead of three, the significance of the Golden Week would have been diminished. It was for this reason that April 29 was designated as a new national holiday: “Greenery Day.” In honor of Emperor Showa and his 63-year reign, the holiday’s name was changed to “Showa Day.”
Japanese people celebrate a holiday week between the end of April and the beginning of May known as Golden Week (gon Shkan), also known as gata Renky. Children’s Day is May 5th, Greenery Day is May 3rd, Constitution Day is May 3rd, and Shwa Day is April 29th (May 5). The Japanese government has added a fifth day off in between the above four days, making this the longest vacation of the year in Japan, in an effort to facilitate travel and relaxation.
>>> Read more: What is Matsuri – The best Festival in Japan
II. Various holidays in the Japanese Golden Week
Whether it is Golden Week Japan 2022 or Golden Week Japan 2023, each of the four Golden Week celebrations honors a different historical event or person. The Act on National Holidays specifies specific dates for each holiday.
1. Showa Day (April 29)
Showa Day, also known as Showa no Hi, is a Japanese national holiday commemorating the birth of Emperor Showa on April 29. After Emperor Hirohito’s death in 1989, the Japanese no longer celebrated Showa Day but instead observed Greenery Day to honor the late monarch’s fondness for the outdoors. Showa Day was brought back and is celebrated annually since 2007, whereas Greenery Day was shifted to May 4th.
Traditional Showa Day celebrations in Japanese Golden Week include trips to temples, the National Showa Memorial Museum, and Tokyo’s Musashino Imperial Mausoleum, where Emperor Showa is laid to rest. As a result, the reign of Emperor Showa (also known as Emperor Hirohito) and the Showa era of Japan is now commemorated with a national holiday in Japan. Given this context, it is hardly surprising that the holiday has proved divisive.
In addition to commemorating his birth, this day also remembers the sacrifices made by the United States during World War II. This Golden Week event also celebrates Japan’s rebirth and reconstruction after the war. It’s a wake-up call to the current generation to work toward a brighter tomorrow for all people.
2. Constitution Memorial Day (May 3)
Following Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allies on August 2, 1946, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur collaborated with Japanese officials to design a new constitution, which was passed by the Japanese Diet on August 24, 1946. The Emperor made the announcement on November 3rd, and it took effect on May 3rd, 1947.
Since November 3 is also Emperor Meiji’s birthday, Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida lobbied to have the holiday fall on that date. The fact that proceedings before the International Military Tribunal for the Far East were also set to begin on May 3 disturbed him. But he was ultimately unsuccessful.
Constitution In Japan, the National Diet is only open to the public for tours on Memorial Day. The day Japan’s constitution was established is celebrated as the start of the country’s democratic system. As of May 3, 1947, Japan had a brand-new constitution for Golden Week (the same one they use now).
The new constitution was drafted by American military personnel under the command of General Douglas MacArthur during the Allied occupation of Japan during World War II.
3. Greenery Day (May 4)
Japan’s tumultuous connection with Emperor Hirohito and his role in WWII has cast a shadow over the origins of Golden Week. In the wake of his death in 1989, the government renamed the holiday from Showa Day to Greenery Day. Because of Greenery Day’s oblique connection to Hirohito’s passion for plants, this was done so that the holiday may be celebrated without omitting any of its original meanings.
The date of Greenery Day was originally April 29, but it was subsequently shifted to May 4 due to the reinstatement of Showa Day in 2007. The purpose of Greenery Day is to honor and appreciate the natural world. People take advantage of everything that nature has to offer by visiting parks and gardens on this special day. Some urbanites also want to escape to the country during Golden Week times.
Because of the Emperor’s fondness for vegetation, the day was rechristened “Greenery Day” (and without directly mentioning him). Most people just think of it as an extra day of Golden Week, but people might use it as an opportunity to go hiking or camping (or glamping) in Japan’s lovely outdoors.
4. Children’s Day (May 5)
The tradition of celebrating Children’s Day on May 5 goes back to the Nara Period, when it was known as Tango no Sekku. Originally known as “Boys Day,” it served as a response to Hinamatsuri by honoring dads and sons. In 1948, the holiday’s name was changed to Children’s Day to reflect the increasing equality between fathers and mothers.
On this special Golden Week’s day, we remember the innocence and potential of our youth and send our best wishes for their development and happiness. This day also marks the origin of the koinobori, one of the most recognizable symbols of Japan in photography. Koinobori is carp-shaped streamers that represent each member of the family and are draped from poles or rooftops. The larger carps symbolize the parents, while the juveniles symbolize the young.
All around the country, families fly carp-shaped flags in the days leading up to and following Children’s Day to show their support for the day and their pride in their children’s achievements. The firstborn is a blue carp, followed by a red carp (the higoi, or mother), and finally a white carp (the second born). Every new child means more carp in the pond. Families may also proudly display samurai dolls and helmets as symbols of their children’s bravery and determination.
III. What do the Japanese do during the Golden Week?
Some businesses in Japan even shut down entirely so that their staff can enjoy the holiday with their families. For many Japanese workers, Golden Week is the longest holiday of the year and a prime opportunity to take a trip.
1. Take long vacations filled with relaxation and sightseeing
The Japanese love to take vacations and see the world during Golden Week. On the holiday honoring children, families usually fly flags, put out dolls depicting martial artists (Musha-ningyo), and feast on kashiwamochi and chimaki (a cake made of sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves). There are many households that belief taking a bath with “sho-bu” (sweet Irit) leaves will protect them from evil spirits.
2. Stop working
This is a rare-extended period of the year when Japanese people can unwind after a tough and active workday. Most of them will use this holiday to spend time with their families and visit relatives and relatives back home. During Golden Week times, most administrative activity will come to a halt.
3. Have fun when traveling
A week is just enough time to visit other parts of Japan comfortably. During the Golden Week holiday, many Japanese people travel. Some schools, companies, and businesses will plan outdoor fun activities to relax and strengthen people’s bonds through team-building games.
If the Japanese do not return to their homeland, they will plan extensive excursions with family or friends. This is also a season with excellent weather for outdoor activities, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see cherry blossoms bloom around this period.
Shopping has become a popular activity for travelers during the golden week when they can enjoy the excitement of the entire country while also shopping as much as they want at an expensive price. Because individuals are off this week, the golden week shopping activity is also higher than at other times of the year. This is also why brands frequently have amazing promotions during this period to encourage sales.
>>> Read more: Best Proxy Shopping Japan
IV. Popular Japanese e-commerce sites for golden week sale
During the Golden Week, online retailers saw a surge in sales. Thus, many brands take this advantage to provide discounts and price reductions to accelerate a number of customers to the stores. Here are some of popular e-commerce sites in Japan to promote sales during the happy Golden Week:
1. Amazon Japan
The most popular online store in Japan is Amazon Japan. Shopping, one-of-a-kind delivery options, Amazon Fresh, Prime Video, and Amazon Music Unlimited are just a few of the many things Amazon Japan provides to Japanese customers. They offer a variety of discounts during Golden Week, and if you are an international buyer, don’t worry, it is possible to switch to an English version of Amazon Japan’s site.
2. Rakuten Japan
Rakuten Japan is the most well-known online retailer in Japan. When it comes to Japanese online shopping, not many sites can compare to Rakuten. They sell anything from Japanese Kit Kats, fashion, and technology to beauty products, books, and books, and they offer an abundance of sales too! Products that can only be found in Japan can be found through either independent retailers or from the maker.
For Japanese consumers, Uniqlo is the undisputed leader in the clothing industry. Founded in 1949 in Yamaguchi, Japan, UNIQLO is a clothing apparel company that got its start as a textile factory. They’ve expanded into a worldwide phenomenon, with over a thousand locations in over 100 countries. Indeed, with its countless styles and types, Uniqlo is a place where you can go shopping without leaving with a purchase.
4. Yahoo! Japan Auctions
Yahoo! Japan Auctions is the most trusted and well-known auction house in Japan, where you may find many odd and rare products at bargain prices. Softbank Group – Media Company, which runs Yahoo! JAPAN Shopping, is one of the most popular places to go is Yahoo! JAPAN. Its offerings span from commonplace kitchen appliances, food stuffs, toiletries, and presents. to specialties such as miss Golden Week.
>>> Read more: Yahoo Auction Proxy Service with Janbox Japan
We hope you’ve found this article helpful in learning more about Golden Week in Japan and the many special sales events being held in celebration of the festival. If you’re interested in shipping goods from Japan to Vietnam and would like some assistance doing so during the upcoming Golden Week, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Email: [email protected]