Japan Golden Week is a week-long holiday in Japan, it consists of consecutive calendar holidays from the end of April until the first week of April. The holidays usually start on April 29 – May 5, however, this year Golden week is a long holiday a 10-day holiday to be exact.

The reason for this 10-day Golden week holiday is the Coronation of the new Emperor that will take place on May 1, 2019. The coronation holiday is a Wednesday leaving April 30 and May 2 the only remaining non-holiday dates on Golden week.

Emperor Akihito - The Japan Times

Image Source : The Japan Times

However Japanese law stipulates that a working day sandwiched between national holidays automatically becomes a public holiday. As a result, April 30 and May 2 are declared as a holiday in observance of the New Emperor’s coronation on May 1.

Usual Golden Week Holidays

  • April 29 – Showa Day (Birthday of Showa Emperor)
  • May 3 – Constitution Memorial Day
  • May 4 – Greenery Day (Holiday to celebrate and nature)
  • May 5 – Children’s Day (Holiday which celebrates kids and wishes them good luck on their journey to adulthood)

Golden Week 2019 Holidays

  • April 29, Monday – Showa Day (Birthday of Showa Emperor)
  • April 30, Tuesday – Coronation Day Holiday (Observed)
  • May 1, Wednesday – Coronation Day (Coronation of Japan’s New Emperor)
  • May 2, Thursday – Coronation Day Holiday (Observed)
  • May 3, Friday – Constitution Memorial Day
  • May 4, Saturday – Greenery Day (Holiday to celebrate and nature)
  • May 5, Sunday – Children’s Day (Holiday which celebrates kids and wishes them good luck on their journey to adulthood)
  • May 6, Monday – Children’s Day Holiday (Observed)

A total of 8 calendar holidays this year golden week 2019! Plus, the weekend before the holidays, April 27 (Saturday) and 28 (Sunday) a total of a 10-day holiday!

Japan’s Golden week 2019 is the longest golden week holiday to date. It is the perfect time to travel around Japan, go back home or just fly abroad. Although it is indeed the best time to travel, it might also not be the most perfect time to travel.

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Koinobori / Japanese “carp streamer” display for Children’s Day Holiday.

Almost everyone might be travelling on the same dates this golden week, imagine the number of people at the airport, train stations and tourist spots. Golden week 2019 might not be the best time to travel if you are avoiding crowded tourist spots and train stations.

Japan Golden Week Travel Tips

1. Stay in Tokyo

Most Japanese are already set to travel during the golden week holiday which means the beginning to middle of Golden week is the initial exodus of those heading out of Tokyo and Japan. If you head to Tokyo once the initial exodus fades out, you might be surprised by the almost empty attractions in Tokyo.
On the other hand, extremely popular attractions such as Tokyo Disney Resorts will surely be packed with crowds so don’t expect everywhere to be empty of people.

The latter days of Golden week people will start to travel back to Japan’s major cities hence the best time to explore other parts of Japan.

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2. Book As Early As Possible

With schools and workers are on holiday expect flights and accommodations to be fully booked months before Golden Week. Plane tickets and hotel prices climb high fast, it is better that you have your booking placed months before Golden week holiday.

Another option is to set your travel dates a week before or after the Golden week.

3. Minimize your Transit

Most Japanese head home during Golden Week expect that major highways and train stations will be packed. It is better that you keep your trips local to avoid wasting your time in traffic. Also driving your car or renting one might not be a good idea because of the holiday traffic on major highways. Taking advantage of train transportations is a better option.

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By experience the crowds during Golden week holidays can be really overwhelming but with early travel planning it is still the best time to explore Japan.