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  • Golden Week 101: A Beginner's Guide to Japan's Busiest Holiday Season

    Team Klook
    Team Klook
    Last updated 22 Apr 2024
    Japan colorful scenery

    Go for gold during Japan's Golden Week!

    Welcome to Japan during one of the most exciting times of the year: Golden Week! The week-long holiday runs from late April to early May marking a period when Japan springs to life with festivities. Some would arguably say it's the best time to visit Japan. But for first-time visitors, the Golden Week period can be both thrilling and daunting.
    This guide aims to equip you with tips and advice on what to anticipate and how to fully savor your Golden Week escapade.

    What is Golden Week?

    Japan Street
    Source: Pexels
    Golden Week is a significant week-long holiday in Japan, comprising four national holidays - Showa Day, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day, and Children's Day. These holidays fall between April 29 and May 5 every year, and it's customary for people to take a break from their work and studies to partake in the celebrations and travel around the country.
    In 2024, Japan's Golden Week will occur from 29 April to 5 May 2024.

    What to expect during Golden Week in Japan?

    Crowded street in Japan
    Source: Pexels
    Firstly, be prepared for large crowds! The Golden Week Japan holiday is one of the busiest periods of the year, with many people using the break to travel and unwind. This means that popular tourist spots, public transportation, and even restaurants can be crowded. But don't let this dampen the mood; the lively atmosphere and energy of the celebrations more than make up for it.
    #KlookTip: Don't worry, we got you covered! Book your favorite attraction tickets in advance on Klook to ensure that you get to visit all the top spots without a worry!
    Second, plan ahead of time for your hotels and transportation. Because Golden Week in Japan is such a popular season to travel, many hotels get easily booked. The same is true for transportation: bullet trains and buses might be crowded during this time, so book your tickets ahead of time!
    #KlookTip: You can get your Shinkansen tickets on Klook 30 days in advance so you can plan your trip down to a tee. Do note that if you plan to travel between Tokyo and Osaka on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Nozomi Shinkansen, the non-reserved seats will not be available during Golden Week. You'll have to purchase a reserved seat ticket on either the Ordinary or Green Car instead.
    Third, create a cohesive itinerary. With so many festivals, parades, and events taking place around the country during Golden Week in Japan, deciding where to go and what to see may have its challenges. Take the time to plan and organize your schedule ahead of time to ensure you don't miss out on any must-see attractions or activities.
    Cherry blossoms
    Source: Pexels
    Ultimately, get into the Golden Week Japan holiday spirit by immersing yourself in the culture. There's so much to do during this time, whether you're attending a traditional ceremony, admiring the gorgeous cherry blossoms, or indulging in local cuisine. So, take advantage of this opportunity to explore and learn everything that this remarkable festival has to offer.

    What should you pack in preparation for Golden Week in Japan? 

    Apart from the travel requirements like your passport and visa, don’t forget to bring comfortable walking shoes. Since many celebrations take place outdoors, you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Also, bring a backpack to store your refillable water bottles, sunscreen, and a hat. It could get hot during the day, and you don’t want to get burnt or dehydrated. Finally, carry cash because certain vendors may not accept credit cards. 
    Tourist packing her things
    Source: Pexels
    In general, you’ll want to travel light since you’ll be on the move a lot and wouldn’t want to be weighed down by heavy luggage. So when it comes to packing clothing items for Golden Week in Japan, you’ll want to bring a few changes of clothing that you can mix and match. Avoid wearing revealing or provocative clothing as a way of showing respect for their culture.

    What are the top Activities during the Golden Week Japan holiday?

    Yellow Shrine
    Source: Klook
    There are plenty of things to do in Japan, but the best way to experience Golden Week is to get out and explore. Here are some of the most popular activities:
    • Visit shrines and temples – Many of Japan’s most famous shrines and temples hold special events and ceremonies so this would be a great opportunity to witness traditional Japanese culture in action.
    • Admire the cherry blossoms (if you still can) – While Japan's famous cherry blossoms will be past their full bloom stage during Golden Week, you may still get a chance to spot some in Hokkaido! Take a stroll through one of the region's many parks or gardens and enjoy the stunning scenery!
    • Attend a matsuri – Various traditional festivities, or matsuri, are celebrated throughout Golden Week in Japan. The Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo, for example, offers colorful parades, traditional music and dance performers, and food vendors serving local delicacies. 
    • Explore an amusement park – For those looking for a more lighthearted activity during the Golden Week Japan holiday, you can spend the day at amusement parks like Tokyo Disneyland
    • Relax at an Onsen – Golden Week can also be a hectic time, and sometimes the best thing to do is to simply relax and unwind at an Onsen or hot spring resort. 
    To sum it all up, Golden Week is a fantastic time to explore Japan and experience its rich culture and traditions. From visiting shrines and temples to attending a matsuri, there is something for everyone during this exciting time. Just remember to pack light, wear comfortable clothing, and be prepared for crowds. And most importantly, have fun!

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