Monday, May 2, 2011

Gōruden Wīku (Golden Week)

It's Golden Week......or vacation time here in Japan.  Most Japanese will be off work and school between April 29-May 5th to celebrate the many holidays that fall between these special dates.  I've read in travel books, and heard from the locals that this is not a good time for Gaijin (foreigners) to travel to or within Japan.  It can be very difficult to find accommodations or to get around during this time.  The roads, local attractions, and the trains are often more crowded than usual.  I really wanted to go to Tokyo Disney last week when most of the boys were off school.  Needless to say we didn't go because it was the beginning of Golden Week and it had recently re-opened after being closed  for a month after the earthquake.

I love the idea of having many holidays in one week, and that each holiday has such a significant meaning to the Japanese.

  • April 29 is Showa Day or 'Showa no hi'This is the birthday of the former Emperor Showa.  April 29th was the original Greenery Day until 2007 when it was switched to May 4th. 
  • May 3 is Constitution Memorial Day or 'Kenpo Kinenbi'. A national holiday remembering the new constitution, which was put into effect after the war.
  • May 4  is Greenery Day or 'Midori no hi'.  Originally celebrated on April 29th.  This day is to celebrate the Emperor's love of nature and plants.  
  • May 5 is Children's Day or 'Kodomo no hi'.  This holiday was established in 1948 to celebrate the uniqueness and happiness of children.  This day has also been known as Boy's Day. 

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