Golden Week in Japan 2024: Travel Tips for the Busiest Holiday

people walking on road near well-lit buildings

Imagine arriving in Tokyo during Golden Week, only to realize that navigating the bustling streets and crowded attractions feels like a lone fish swimming against a powerful current.

However, fear not, as this survival guide will equip you with essential strategies to endure and thrive during this peak holiday season in Japan.

From insider tips on beating the crowds to cultural insights enriching your experience, get ready to unlock the secrets of mastering Golden Week like a seasoned traveler.

What is the Golden Week in Japan?

During the Golden Week, national holidays occur quickly, creating one of the year’s busiest and most exciting times. 

The Golden Week comprises four important holidays: Showa Day, Greenery Day, Constitution Memorial Day, and Children’s Day, also known as Kodomo no Hi.

During Golden Week, these holidays lead to extended vacation periods, crowded tourist destinations, and vibrant celebrations across the country.

Dates and Duration of Golden Week

During Golden Week in Japan, key dates to remember are:

  • April 29 for Showa Day
  • May 3 for Constitution Day
  • May 4 for Midori no hi (Greenery Day)
  • May 5 for Kodomo no hi (Children’s Day)

These dates mark essential national holidays that contribute to the extended break enjoyed during Golden Week.

April 29: Showa Day

Celebrated on April 29, Showa Day marks the beginning of Golden Week in Japan. This day honors Emperor Showa’s birthday, also known as Showa no Hi.

It holds a special place in the hearts of Japanese people as they reflect on the Showa era and its significance in shaping the nation.

May 3: Constitution Day

On this day, the Japanese people honor the enactment of their post-World War II constitution.

While it’s a national holiday, various cultural events and ceremonies may celebrate the country’s democratic principles. Constitution Day offers a chance to appreciate Japan’s commitment to peace and democracy.

May 4: Midori No Hi (Greenery Day)

On this day, many people in Japan take the opportunity to connect with nature by going for walks in parks, having picnics under the cherry blossoms, or participating in tree-planting activities.

It’s a time to reflect on the beauty of the natural world and show gratitude for the green spaces that provide tranquility in bustling cities.

May 5: Kodomo No Hi (Children’s Day)

In Japan, this day is filled with festivities to express gratitude for children and their personalities.

Families often fly koinobori (carp-shaped windsocks) to symbolize the strength and determination they wish for their children. Homes display kabuto (samurai helmets) to represent a wish for protection and courage. Kashiwa mochi, a traditional sweet rice cake filled with red bean paste, is commonly eaten today.

Many places also host events like parades and games for children to enjoy. It’s a heartwarming occasion to appreciate the little ones and their importance in society.

What to Expect During Golden Week

Get ready for a whirlwind of activity during Golden Week in Japan. Here’s what to expect during the Golden Week:

  • Transport Congestion: During Golden Week in Japan, transport congestion can reach unprecedented levels, causing delays and overcrowding for travelers. 
  • Full Bookings on Popular Activities: Due to the high number of tourists and locals enjoying the holiday, popular activities such as guided tours, traditional tea ceremonies, and cultural workshops tend to get fully booked early.
  • Crowded Popular Attractions: Expect long lines, bustling crowds, and limited personal space at popular attractions during Golden Week in Japan. 
  • Peak Season Prices: During this period, prices for accommodations, transportation, and even entrance fees to popular attractions may increase significantly. 

Golden Week Travel Tips 

When visiting Japan during Golden Week, make sure to keep these tips in mind:

1. Plan and Book in Advance

Plan and book in advance to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience during Japan’s Golden Week. By taking these steps, you can avoid last-minute stress and fully immerse yourself in the festivities:

  • Research popular destinations and check their operating hours
  • Book accommodation early to avoid limited availability 
  • Reserve transportation tickets to guarantee seats during the busy travel period
  • Make restaurant reservations to ensure you have a table by booking ahead of time

2. Be Prepared for Crowds and Long Waits

Prepare yourself for navigating through the crowds and enduring potentially long waits during Japan’s Golden Week by strategizing your itinerary and being patient.

Consider visiting popular attractions early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the biggest rush and look into purchasing tickets in advance or utilizing fast passes where available.

Stay positive and make the most of the experience by engaging with locals or fellow travelers. Remember, everyone is there to enjoy the festivities, so maintaining a positive attitude will enhance your Golden Week adventure.

3. Stay Informed and Flexible

Stay updated on the latest information, and be ready to adapt your plans to make the most of Japan’s Golden Week. Being flexible and well-informed will help you quickly navigate the busy holiday period. 

Here are some tips to help you stay on top of things:

  • Check transportation schedules
  • Monitor weather conditions
  • Make sure your phone has a reliable data connection for maps and information
  • Be open to alternatives

4. Pack Light and Stay Mobile

Pack versatile clothing suitable for various activities and weather conditions, allowing you to adapt on the go. Consider essentials like a portable phone charger, comfortable walking shoes, and a lightweight umbrella for unexpected rain.

Keep important documents organized in a secure pouch for quick access.

By packing light and staying mobile, you’ll easily maneuver through the festivities, ensuring you don’t miss out on any of the exciting experiences Golden Week offers.

5. Embrace Local Culture and Festivities

As you immerse yourself in Japan’s Golden Week, allow the vibrant local culture and festive atmosphere to envelop you, enhancing your travel experience.

Here are some things you can try:

  • Join traditional festivals
  • Explore art and history
  • Try on a Kimono
  • Attend tea ceremonies


Navigating Japan’s Golden Week can be a challenging yet rewarding experience for first-time visitors. You can make the most of this memorable holiday by planning, being flexible, and embracing the unique cultural festivities.

With a positive attitude and some preparation, you’ll have a memorable and enjoyable Golden Week in Japan.

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