Golden Week is the name given to the week in Spring that houses four of the fifteen Japanese national holidays. The week begins with Showa Day followed by Constitution Day, Greenery Day, and ends with Childrens Day. The term “Golden Week” is not related to the holidays at all but actually came about due to the high attendance rate at movie theaters. After the 1947 constitution, the clustering of holidays in Spring led to increased amounts of free time. Many people in Japan used this free time to see different movies. In the Spring of 1951 postwar filmmaker and novelist Bunroku Shishi’s movie “Jiyu Gakko” saw record sales during the holidays. So much so, that the filmmaker declared this incredibly lucrative time of the year “Golden Week”. The tradition of attending the cinema still holds up to this day, however travel has, also, become increasingly significant during this time. In 2019 approximately 35% of the population traveled throughout Japan to visit family and friends and enjoy the holiday season.
Showa Day (Show no Hi)
Showa Day celebrates the birthday of emperor Showa who passed in 1989. It is a day for remembering the Showa era (1926-1989) when the Japanese worked hard to rebuild the country. This holiday encourages active public reflection of Hirohito’s reign.
Constitution Day (Kenpo Kinebi)
This day celebrates the day in 1947 where the new postwar constitution was put into effect.
Greenery Day (Midori no Hi)
This day is dedicated to the environment and celebration of nature, due to emperor Showa’s love of all plants. The holiday was originally celebrated on his birthday but the date was switched in 2006.
Childrens Day (Kodomo no Hi)
Childrens Day, also known as Tango no Sekku, is one of the five sacred festivals in Japan. Its celebration has been a fixture in Japanese culture since the Nara Period (710-94), and is easily recognizable by the hanging of koinobori (carp streamers). This is due to a famous Chinese legend that states: if a carp is strong enough to swim up raging rapids, it can become a dragon.