Guide to Golden Week 2022 and 2023: When and What is it?

Last Updated on 27.04.2022 by Coto Japanese Language School

Golden Week, or Oogata Shuukan, in Japan, is the period when four national holidays cram together and form an (almost) week-long break. This is when inbound travel activities peak in Japan, as a lot of people use this opportunity to use their paid time off to visit other places in the country. People living in urban centers like Tokyo will usually leave the city at the beginning of the week. Trains, airports and tourist spots can get very crowded, too. Overall, the Golden Week is Japan’s third busiest holiday season, following Oshougatsu (New Year) and Obon week, which falls in mid-August.

If you don’t live in Japan, “Golden Week” might sound unfamiliar. We’ll discuss all you need to know about the season, and what to expect.

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Table of contents

Golden Week: What You Need to Know

The Golden Week comprises four national holidays, as follows:

EnglishJapaneseDate
Showa Day昭和の日April 29
Constitution Memorial Day憲法記念日May 3
Greenery Dayみどりの日May 4
Children’s Dayこどもの日May 5

Depending on which day of the week falls during these holidays, you can see an ideal five consecutive holidays. Usually, when there is a gap between one national holiday with the next one, people working in Japan will take a day off to make it a full seven-day holiday. Some companies might even be generous enough to temporarily close down the operation and give their employees free time off.

Golden Week 2022: When Is It?

Unfortunately, the 2022 Golden Week falls on an unfavorable timeline. The three consecutive holidays from May 3 to May 5 fall from Tuesday until Thursday, which means you may need to resume normal activities on Monday and Friday.

HolidayDateDay
Showa DayApril 29Friday
WeekendApril 30Saturday
WeekendMay 1Sunday
No national holidayMay 2Monday
Constitution Memorial DayMay 3Tuesday
Greenery DayMay 4Wednesday
Children’s DayMay 5Thursday
No national holidayMay 6Friday

Golden Week 2023: When Is It?

HolidayDateDay
Showa DayApril 29Saturday
WeekendApril 30Sunday
No national holidayMay 1Monday
No national holidayMay 2Tuesday
Constitution Memorial DayMay 3Wednesday
Greenery DayMay 4Thursday
Children’s DayMay 5Friday

Golden Week 2024: When Is It?

Three of the last national holidays will fall on Friday and overlap with the weekends.

HolidayDateDay
Showa DayApril 29Monday
No national holidayApril 30Tuesday
No national holidayMay 1Wednesday
No national holidayMay 2Thursday
Constitution Memorial DayMay 3Friday
Greenery DayMay 4Saturday
Children’s DayMay 5Sunday

Days of the Golden Week

Each of the four holidays has its own unique history. If you would like to know more, then check out some of these articles!

Golden Week Showa Day

Showa Day: Shouwa no Hi (昭和の日)

Showa Day, while recognized as the start of Golden Week, is meant to contemplate the events of the Showa era (1926-1989) which was governed by the late emperor, Hirohito. The origins of Showa Day are relatively confusing because it is closely connected with two other holidays: The Emperor’s Birthday and Greenery Day. The date of The Emperor’s Birthday changes when a new emperor ascends to the Chrysanthemum Throne, and it was from these new enthronements that both Showa Day and Greenery Day were born.

Golden Week Constitution Memorial Day

Constitution Memorial Day: Kenpou Kinenbi (憲法記念日)

This holiday commemorates the declaration of Japan’s postwar constitution. It serves as an active reminder of Japan’s history, not only for the hardship endured through Imperial Japan but also for their remarkable progression to a democratic nation.

Golden Week Greenery Day

Greenery Day: Midori no Hi (みどりの日)

Greenery Day is a day dedicated to all things green. It is a day to celebrate the joys of nature. Commencing with a Greenery Day speech from Emperor Akihito, people convene across the country to plant trees. There are also colorful parades through larger cities, and people will often decorate the streets with paper lanterns. Other people prefer to keep it simple by visiting and appreciating an outdoor space near home.

Japanese Children's Day Holiday

Children’s Day: Kodomo no Hi (こどもの日)

Children’s day is a day to commemorate and command the nation’s youngest. The day has an interesting history strongly connected to China. Perhaps the most visible proclamations of Children’s Day are the elegant flying koinobori (carp-shaped windsocks) that adorn household roofs throughout Japan. These streamers originate from the Chinese legend which claimed that the perseverance and strength of an upstream swimming carp will transform it into a dragon.

Silver Week

Silver Week, much like Golden Week, is a collection of holidays that could lead to an extended 5-day holiday. It occurs in September. This may sound strange because there are only two public holidays in September, so how do you get a 5-day holiday? Japan actually has a law that states that if any working day lies in between two national holidays, that working day is converted to a national holiday. This new holiday is called a Citizen’s holiday, or 国民の休日 (Kokumin no kyuujitsu).

If everything works out, the two holidays will be apart by one day and be right next to the weekend. This is incredibly rare though, and the next time this is going to happen is 2026. The holidays in Silver Week are:

EnglishJapaneseDate
Respect for the Aged Day敬老の日3rd Monday of September
Autumnal Equinox Day秋分の日September 22/23*
Citizen’s Holiday国民の休日In-between the other holidays

*Autumnal Equinox Day’s date is dependent on the date of Southern Equinox in Japan, which can vary every year. Typically, it will fall on September 23

Conclusion

We hope you learned something new, and be sure to enjoy your Golden Week this year!

Looking to get better at Japanese over this Golden Week? Check out our Golden Week intensive course here!

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What is Golden Week?

Golden Week is a period where 4 Japanese national holidays line up to form an (almost) week-long break.

When is Golden Week this year?

Click here to check the dates for Golden Week: 2022, 2023, 2024

Which holidays are in Golden Week?

Golden Week’s four holidays are Showa Day, Constitution Memorial Day, Children’s Day and Greenery Day.