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Golden Week (Japan)

Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク, Gōruden Wīku, Gōruden Uīku) (or GW) is a week from the 29th of April to early May containing a number of Japanese holidays.[1]

Golden Week
Observed byJapan
Date29 April, 3–6 May

Holidays celebratedEdit

Note that "kokumin no kyūjitsu" or "citizen's holiday" is a generic term for any official holiday. 4 May was until 2007 an unnamed but official holiday because of a rule that converts any day between two holidays into a new holiday. Japan celebrates Labor Thanksgiving Day, a holiday with a similar purpose to May Day (as celebrated in Europe and North America). When a public holiday lands on a Sunday, the next day that is not already a holiday becomes a holiday for that year.[4] In some cases, a Compensation Holiday (振替休日, Furikae Kyūjitsu) is held on either 30 April or 6 May should any of the Golden Week holidays fall on Sunday; 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 have had Compensation Holidays for Shōwa Day, Children's Day, Greenery Day, and Constitution Memorial Day, respectively.


The National Holiday Laws, promulgated in July 1948, declared nine official holidays. Since many were concentrated in a week spanning the end of April to early May, many leisure-based industries experienced spikes in their revenues. The film industry was no exception. In 1951, the film Jiyū Gakkō recorded higher ticket sales during this holiday-filled week than any other time in the year (including New Year's and Obon). This prompted the managing director of Daiei Film Co., Ltd. to dub the week "Golden Week" based on the Japanese radio lingo “golden time,” which denotes the period with the highest listener ratings.[5] At the time, 29 April was a national holiday celebrating the birth of the Shōwa Emperor. Upon his death in 1989, the day was renamed "Greenery Day."[3] In 2007, Greenery Day was moved to 4 May, and 29 April was renamed Shōwa Day to commemorate the late Emperor.[3]

Current practiceEdit

Many Japanese nationals take paid time off during this holiday, and some companies are closed down completely and give their employees time off. Golden Week is the longest vacation period of the year for many Japanese workers. Two other Japanese holidays are observed for most or all of a week: Japanese New Year in January and Obon Festival in August.

Golden Week is a popular time for holiday travel. Despite significantly higher rates, flights, trains, and hotels are often fully booked. Popular destinations include Asia, Guam, Saipan, and Hawaii, and major cities on the West Coast of North America such as Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, and Vancouver, and a number of cities in Europe and Australia.

The Super GT Fuji 500 km auto race is held on Golden Week.

2019 scheduleEdit

Golden Week in 2019 was particularly long due to the 2019 Japanese imperial transition, with the succession of the new emperor on 1 May designated as an additional national holiday. As 29 April and 3 May are already holidays, this caused 30 April and 2 May to be public holidays as well, making 2019's Golden Week ten consecutive days, from Saturday 27 April through Monday 6 May.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Japanese Holidays". Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Golden Week". 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  4. ^ "Golden Week in Japan - Japanese Golden Week". 1947-05-03. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  5. ^ "ゴールデンウィーク - 語源由来辞典". Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  6. ^ "Government to designate May 1, day of new Emperor's accession, as public holiday, creating 10-day Golden Week in 2019". Japan Times. 12 October 2018.