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Introducing Japan's Golden Week!

Introducing Japan's Golden Week!

Colorful koinobori streamers move like swimming carps in the breeze on Children’s Day. | GETTY IMAGES

Golden Days

Showa Day (Showa no hi) April 29

Emperor Showa’s Birthday on 29 April opens up the Golden Week celebrations. This holiday commemorates the institution of having an emperor, honours the current emperor, and is a focal point for celebrating Japanese history and culture in general. Emperor Showa reigned from 1926 until 1989, covering the crucial post-war recovery period. For a time, this holiday was called Greenery Day and kept on 4 May, but as association with past imperialism has waned, people are now more willing to celebrate the birthday of Emperor Showa with parades, fireworks, lighting up paper lanterns, and planting young saplings.

Constitution Day (Kenpo kinebi) May 3

On this day in 1947, the new postwar constitution was put into effect.This is also a patriotic holiday that is related to and piggy-backs on Emperor Showa’s Birthday. This is the only day of the year when Japan’s National Building is open to the public.

Greenery Day (Midori no hi) May 4

The day is dedicated to the environment and nature, because the emperor loved plants and nature. There are many activities on Yumenoshima Island on Greenery Day. This island was originally constructed on top of a garbage dump but is now a bastion of greenery in the midst of busy Tokyo.

Children's Day (Kodomo no hi) May 5

The Boy's Festival (Tango no Sekku) is celebrated on this day. Families pray for the health and future success of their sons by hanging up carp streamers and displaying samurai dolls, both symbolizing strength, power and success in life.The Girl's Festival is celebrated on March 3. It is customary to consume large quantities of mochi rice cakes and other Japanese treats this time of year. 

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