What is Golden Week? When in 2017? History and Holidays of GW in Japan




Have you enjoyed Golden Week in Japan? Many people are off during Golden Week and popular destinations are packed. But what is it? Let’s find out what it is and how Japanese spend time.




What is Golden Week?


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Golden Week is a series of holidays in Japan. It usually starts at the end of April and ends at the beginning of May.

Depending on companies and calendar, people get 7-10 days off. Some request extra time off and go to a short trip.



Golden Week includes the following holidays:

April 29, Showa Day (昭和の日)

May 3, Constitution Memorial Day (憲法記念日)

May 4, Greenery Day (みどりの日)

May 5, Children’s Day (こどもの日)



When is Golden Week in 2017?

Let’s take a look at these calendars below and check when the Golden Week would be in 2017.


April 2017



May 2017


As you can see, April 29 is Saturday.

Thus people would have 2 days off on April 29th and 30th.

Then they would work on May 1st and 2nd unless they request time off.


Another holiday comes on May 3rd so most people are off between May 3rd and 7th, which is Sunday.


People are off on April 29th, 30th (2 days) and

May 3rd to May 7th (5 days) in 2017.

Some of them might take off on May 1st and 2nd and make their off 9 days.



History of Golden Week

In July 1948, Japanese government declared nine official holidays in April and May.

The movie called “Jiyu Gakko”(自由学校) recorded the highest ticket sales during this series of holidays in 1951. The director of Daiei Film then promoted this period as “golden time.”

Other leisure-based industries also promoted Golden Week and it became the biggest and longest vacation in Japan.



How do Japanese Spend Golden Week?



So how do Japanese spend GW?

It really depends on people: some go travel and enjoy all days.

Some might go out for a day trip.

Some go back to their hometown and spend a couple days there.

Others might stay at home and don’t go out (i.e., no special plans).


If people work in customer service industry, they might not have off at all.

It depends on companies and their schedule.





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Many people are looking forward Golden Week and they already plan their trip or thing to do.

I personally didn’t like Golden Week because wherever I went it was packed!

So I didn’t go to travel or somewhere far.

I used to stay at home and enjoy my time or sometimes met my friends.


Golden Week is also a time when family can travel or visit hometown.

If you drive, expect heavy traffic!




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