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Golden Week 2024 in Japan: Dates, Events, and Travel Tips

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In 2024, Japan's Golden Week starts on April 27 (Saturday) and ends on May 6 (Monday). This is one of the busiest travel seasons in Japan. We introduce tips on how to avoid overcrowded trains and traffic jams, along with events and destinations to check out during Golden Week.

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Golden Week in Japan: Consecutive Spring Public Holidays

Golden Week describes the time period of consecutive public holidays at the end of April and the beginning of May that comes each year, lasting anywhere from a few days to as long as a ten-day period.

In 2024, Golden Week officially begins on Saturday, April 27, and ends on Monday, May 6.

The long string of holidays combined with the warm, mild weather means travel in Japan peaks during this period, making last-minute booking of accommodation and transportation quite difficult. In addition, many popular sightseeing spots fill to the brim with crowds.

We have compiled a list of travel tips, events, and destinations taking this into account.

Golden Week in Japan 2024

Golden Week: Public Holidays and Celebrations
Golden Week Travel Tips
Recommended Destinations for Golden Week
5 Golden Week Events Near Tokyo and Osaka
1. Showa Kinen Park Flower Festival 2024 in Tokyo
2. The Omiya Bonsai Festival in Saitama
3. The Kasama Himatsuri Pottery Festival
4. Nakanoshima Festival in Osaka
5. Awaji Flower Festival on Awaji Island

Golden Week: Public Holidays and Celebrations

Flower Festival 2024, Showa Kinen Park

Showa Kinen Park in spring. Picture courtesy of PR Times

Golden Week usually contains the following public holidays: Showa Day (April 29), Constitution Memorial Day (May 3), Greenery Day (May 4), and Children's Day (May 5).

Showa is the name of one of the longest eras in Japanese history, which lasted from 1926 to 1989. Showa Day was established as a day to reflect on that period.

On this day, the Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa, Tokyo is opened to the public for free. The end of April is when nemophila, tulips, and many other beautiful flowers within the Showa Kinen Park are in full bloom! Please be aware that the park will be crowded.

The Constitution Memorial Day celebrates the enactment of the Constitution of Japan on May 3, 1947.

Greenery Day (May 4) was established with the purpose of “nurturing a richness of spirit that is intimate and grateful to the blessings of nature.” Many gardens and zoos that usually require an entry fee have free admission on this day.

Golden Week 2024 in Japan: Dates, Events, and Travel Tips

Photo by Pixta

Rikugien Garden, the Hamarikyu Gardens, the Jindai Botanical Gardens, the Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, and the Tama Zoological Park are some of the popular facilities that can accessed for free on Greenery Day.

Golden Week 2024 in Japan: Dates, Events, and Travel Tips

Photo by Pixta

On Children's Day (May 5), people celebrate the uniqueness of children and wish for their joy. In Japan, cultural customs mark this day, with practices like displaying carp banners (koinobori) as symbols of children's growth.

Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sytree have beautiful displays of colorful carp banners. The display at Tokyo Tower consists of 333 koinobori carp banners, a number that coincides with the tower's height: 333 meters!

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Tips to Spend Golden Week in a Pleasant Way

Golden Week - Japanese Encyclopedia

Photo by Pixta

Golden Week is the time for Japanese people to go back to their hometowns or travel around. Because of this, you will run into traffic jams and crowds at the major transportation hubs. So please be aware that you might not be able to move and visit places as you want.

Roads and trains from Tokyo will be crowded at the beginning of Golden Week as people living in Tokyo usually go back to their hometown or travel to some other parts of Japan. On the other hand, roads and trains to Tokyo will be packed at the end of the Golden Week period as everybody goes back to Tokyo. So please consider this when you make your plans.

However, the period right before and after Golden Week is a time when the Japanese don't travel much. So consider visiting Japan in early April, in the latter half of May, or later in June in order to avoid being stacked in one place. Moreover, you might even find more reasonable prices for accommodations!

We must say that Japan during the Golden Week is quite different from usual. We highly recommend you plan your trip taking these details into consideration.

Recommended Destinations for Golden Week

Sawara

Sawara townscape. Photo by Pixta

Taking into account how crowded the trains and buses tend to be during Golden Week and how easily one can get stuck in the traffic, we recommend exploring the areas near you that don't require traveling by public transportation.

If you do want to get out of the big cities, head for destinations that are off the beaten path. Not only will you be able to leisurely enjoy your trip away from the crowds, but you will also get to know a lesser-known side of Japan.

If you're in the Tokyo area, we would recommend the beautiful cities located to the east of the capital, such as Sawara in Chiba or Itako in Ibaraki.

Golden Week 2024 in Japan: Dates, Events, and Travel Tips

The carp banner display at the Ryujin Great Suspension Bridge in Ibaraki. Photo by Pixta

The Ryujin Gorge and Ryujin Great Suspension Bridge in Hitachiota, Ibaraki, hosts a magnificent display of koinobori carp banners during Golden Week. With its breathtaking scenery, this area is the perfect destination for those who love the great outdoors.

Cycling on the Tsukuba-Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road near Lake Kasumigaura might be an exciting adventure that's perfect for this time of the year taking into account the pleasant weather at the beginning of May.

The Minakami area in Gunma is an excellent destination for outdoor activity lovers.

If you find yourself in Kansai, near Osaka and Kyoto, we suggest exploring the nature-rich cities north of Kyoto such as Kameoka, Fukushiyama, and Ayabe.

Golden Week 2024 in Japan: Dates, Events, and Travel Tips

Photo by Pixta

Tamba Sasayama is an exciting destination for those who love traditional townscapes. Hagi City in Yamaguchi, with its castle town and historical sites, is another hidden gem worth exploring.

Nagahama, a lovely city by Lake Biwa with picturesque shopping streets and glass art facilities, is also an excellent destination that can be easily reached from Kyoto and Osaka.

For other suggestions, please check the articles below.

5 Golden Week Events Near Tokyo and Osaka

Golden Week is a prime time for festivals and events and there's no lack of them wherever you find yourself in Japan. We have selected five unique events near Tokyo and Osaka worth checking out.

Please be advised however that, while not major, these events tend to attract large crowds of people.

1. Showa Kinen Park Flower Festival 2024 in Tokyo

10 Golden Week (GW) Events in 2024! Enjoy the Long Holiday Around Tokyo

Picture courtesy of PR Times
Showa Kinen Park's Flower Festival 2024 features 1.8 million Nemophila flowers, tulips, and many other seasonal highlights!

The garden boasts 202 tulip varieties that are in full bloom around the end of April. They also host a Tulip Garden Special Photography Event, during which visitors can take photos of the tulip fields without having anyone in the frame.

Showa Kinen Park Flower Festival 2024
Event Period: March 16 (Sat) - May 26 (Sun), 2024

2. The Omiya Bonsai Festival in Saitama

Golden Week - Japanese Encyclopedia

Photo by Pixta
The Omiya Bonsai Festival, also known as the Dai Bonsai Festival is held annually May 3 - 5 in Saitama City's Bonsai Village, an area surrounding the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum.

Bonsai is the art of growing plants and trees in containers. There are bonsai exhibitions and about 120 specialized shops selling bonsai at this festival.

The bonsai displays can be enjoyed every day from 9:00 to 17:00 during the festival.

For details, please visit the official website of the Omiya Bonsai Festival. (Japanese)

3. The Kasama Himatsuri Pottery Festival

Golden Week 2024 in Japan: Dates, Events, and Travel Tips

Photo by Pixta

Ibaraki's Kasama City is famous in Japan as a pottery town. Held every year during Golden Week, the Kasama Himatsuri Pottery Festival is the largest pottery and arts festival in the region, showcasing over 200 artists, craftspeople, and gallery owners.

Besides pottery, the event features food stalls run by local artisans serving fusion dishes and traditional Japanese treats, catering to diverse tastes. Festivities include music shows and exhibitions. Children can engage in clay modeling and pottery activities.

The Kasama Pottery Festival is an excellent opportunity to witness creativity and indulge in culinary delights while immersing in cultural experiences.

The Kasama Himatsuri Pottery Festival
Dates: April 29 - May 5
Hours: 9:00 - 17:00
Main venue: Kasama Art Forest Park MAP
More details in English: https://visit.ibarakiguide.jp/en/sightseeing/22365/

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4. Nakanoshima Festival in Osaka

nakanoshima

Nakanoshima Park. Photo by Pixta

Osaka's Nakanoshima Festival is held in the relaxing square in front of the Central Public Hall. There are numerous food stalls, stages for singing, performances, and street performances, offering many highlights.

Simultaneously, the Nakanoshima Film Festival and a flea market will also be held.

Duration: May 3 - 5, 10:00 - 16:00 (ends at 15:00 on the 5th)
Venue: Nakanoshima Park area of Osaka's Kita Ward, 1 Chome, Nakanoshima, Osaka City
Official website: http://nakanoshima.net/sp/mukete.html (Japanese)

5. Awaji Flower Festival on Awaji Island

awaji

Nemophila at Akashi Kaikyo Park. Photo by Pixta

Awaji Island is hosting one of the most exciting spring flower festivals in Japan. At the Awaji Farm Park, about 100,000 Nemophila flowers are in full bloom!

The Prefectural Awaji Island Park is famous for azaleas, Akashi Kaikyo Park is another great spot for viewing Nemophila, while Awaji Yumebutai is home to lovely Daisy Margarets.

For more information, please visit the official website of the Awaji Flower Festival.

Period: March 16 - May 26, 2024
Venue: Awaji Farn Park and others
Official website: Awaji Flower Festival

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Enjoy Golden Week in Japan

Please make sure to stay safe during Golden Week, away from traffic jams and crowds. We hope you'll have a great time in Japan during this time of the year.

Written by

The MATCHA editorial department. Our articles feature useful travel information for visitors to Japan, from how-to guides to recommended places to visit.

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