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Golden Week 101: A Guide to the Holiday

2019-04-10
All of Japan is talking about the upcoming Golden Week holiday. Aside from a few days off of work, though, what is it exactly? Read on for a quick tutorial about this giant holiday-within-a-holiday.
 
What is Golden Week?
“Golden Week” is the catch-all term for a group of holidays that fall in late April and early May. This year’s Golden Week is exceptionally long (10 days) thanks to calendar placement, the new emperor and Japan’s policy of observing days between holidays as holidays themselves.
 
 

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A stamp commemorating Emperor Hirohito

Showa Day: Monday, 29 April
Showa Day is the celebration of the birthday of Emperor Hirohito (later named Showa). It is meant to be a day of reflection on Japan’s past and future; the Showa period includes World War II and the period of growth and change for Japan that followed it.
 

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Part of the Imperial Palace grounds in Tokyo

New Emperor’s Ascension: Wednesday, 1 May
Current Emperor Akihito will step down on 30 April, marking the end of three decades of the Heisei era. His oldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend on 1 May, marking the beginning of the Reiwa era. As such, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has named the day an official holiday. This means that Tuesday, 30 April, because it falls it between the two, is also a holiday.
 

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A page from the Japanese Constitution

Constitution Memorial Day: Friday, 3 May
Constitution Memorial Day is another day meant to reflect on Japan’s history, specifically around democracy and its government. The Diet buildings are open to the public, encouraging everyone to learn more about how the country is governed, And again, because there is a day between the two holidays, it becomes one, as well.
 

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Traditional Matcha tea

Greenery Day: Saturday, 4 May
Originally celebrated on April 29 following Emperor Hirohito’s death in 1989, Greenery Day has been celebrated on May 4 since 2007. It’s a holiday for appreciating and enjoying nature. This time of year is also the first of three annual green tea harvests, and is widely acknowledged as producing the tastiest green tea.
 

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Colorful carp streamers are common sights on Children's Day

Children’s Day: Sunday, 5 May
The counterpart to Girl’s Day (3 March), Children’s Day was traditionally celebrated as “Boy’s Day” but has since evolved to be inclusive of all children. Many of the symbols of the day, however, are still geared toward health, happiness and success for sons, including carp flags and samurai dolls. This year’s Children’s Day falls on a Sunday, which means that it is observed on Monday, 6 May.
 
So as you can see, Golden Week is a pretty big deal. Schools will be on break and most office buildings will close in observance, as well. While that may mean plenty of time to take the family on a trip or explore local festivities, it could also mean that you have work to get done and children at home.
 
Whether you need a babysitter while you’re working, or an extra pair of hands to help corral the kids while out and about this Golden Week, CareFinder has you covered. Use special Golden Week discount code GW2019 for 25% off your first month's subscription. which gives you access to hundreds of highly qualified, bilingual sitters in the CareFinder community.
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