One of the busiest weeks in Japan, the 7-day stretch between the 29th of April and the 5th of May boasts four national holidays, beginning with Showa Day and ending with Children’s Day. At its peak in ‘omotenashi’ (hospitality) for the season, most individuals are granted the week off, generating a boost in domestic and international travels. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic this year will be unlike any previous ‘Golden weeks’, where swarms of people crowd the country’s most famous and celebrated sightseeing spots. However, as the situation begins to ameliorate and leisure travel for the year ahead seems possible, a visit to Japan during the holiday season could be an excellent way to kick-start one’s international expeditions. Granting you an immersive experience, in a time where one can best understand Japanese culture at its core, flying ‘koinobori’ is just one of many spectacles that will surely amaze you. Below you can find brief descriptions of each holiday taking place throughout the week.
April 29th - Showa Day
A reflective celebration, ‘Showa day’ spurs memory of the Showa era, during the reign of Emperor Hirohito. Holding the longest reign throughout Japan’s history from 1926 to 1989, events like WWII and the removal of the Imperial rule mark Hirohito’s time as Emperor.
May 3rd - Constitution Memorial Day
‘Constitution Memorial Day’ is an important day for the people of Japan, as the new constitution replacing that of the Meiji came into effect on May 3rd in 1947. Celebrating the emergence of democracy, the current constitution declares that sovereignty lies with the people, and that the reigning Emperor is a mere symbol of the state and the unity of its people, who ultimately, has no powers related to government.
May 4th - Greenery Day
As the celebratory week commences, so does the rice planting season, alongside the harvesting of green tea leaves. To no surprise then, does this holiday take theme by giving its thanks to mother nature, as Japanese culture commemorates and has a conscious relationship with its nature counterpart. During this day you will find people trying to get a hold of the freshest green tea leaves, while celebrating all that is the natural wonders of Japan.
May 5th - Children’s Day
Ending with ‘Children’s Day’, this holiday has been celebrated since the Nara period (710-94), in which they honour the nation’s hope for its children to grow into strong and healthy individuals. Originally the day was an exclusive celebration for boys, although it has now been extended to all children and is further meant to express thanks towards mothers. Aware of the occasion by the endless amounts of hanging koinobori (carp streamers) throughout the country, such decorations are meant to express the children’s strength and resilience, by reflecting its collective spirit in that of the carp swimming upstream against the current.