Golden Week in Japan is comprised of four national holidays, which are as follows:
April 29th – Showa Day
May 3rd – Constitution Memorial Day
May 4th – Greenery Day
May 5th – Children’s Day
Now, I know what you’re thinking: the 29th of April this year was a Tuesday, and the 3rd and 4th of May fell on a Saturday and Sunday. However, it is a common practice for many Japanese workers to take paid leave on the days in between, resulting in a week-long vacation. Some companies will even close down during this time so as to allow their employees to take this time off without having to apply for leave.
In Japan this week of holidays is considered a long vacation, hence the term, “Golden Week”, although the name originally came about due to the increase in sales at cinemas, shopping centers and other places of leisure where people commonly spend their free time. The only other ‘long’ vacations occur in summer at the time of the Obon festival (a special Buddhist event honoring the spirits of deceased family members and relatives), and in winter during the O-Shogatsu period (New Year’s).