Boy's Day and Koinobiri durinig Japanese Golden Week - Celebrating Boys Day Koinobori, Carp Streamer, 

By Keigetsu
Koinobori - Carp Streamer
By Keigetsu (1876-1963)


Japan's Children's Day

One of the four national holidays celebrated during Japan's
"Golden Week"



Koi Streamers Children's Day Japan
Koi streamers celebrating Children's Day Japan

Golden Week, Ōgon Shūkan or Ōgata Renkyū (long holiday series), is a series of four national holidays in the spring. While they fall on non-consecutive days, many people also take the days in between. Companies usually close during this time, creating the longest holiday for Japanese during the year.

The four holidays that occur between the week of April 29 through May 5 were declared in 1948. They include:

29 April: Shōwa Day (Showa no Hi) commemorating the birthday of former Emperor Hirohito, now referred to primarily by his posthumous name, Emperor Showa. While a lot of people don't officially celebrate this day, they enjoy the day off.

3 May: Constitution Memorial Day (Kenpo Kinenbi) commemorates the day the post war constitution was enacted in 1947.

4 May: Greenery Day (Midori no Hi) celebrates nature, when locals may enjoy trips to the countryside or other outings for "getting close to nature".

5 May: Children's Day (Kodomo no Hi) is a traditional holiday that is widely celebrated throughout Japan. This celebration dates back more than 1,000 years and has been known as Boys Festival (Tango no Sekku). The widely decorated carp streamers, Koi Nobori, are tied to a legend about a carp that swam upstream to become a dragon.

Now all children celebrate this holiday with their parents and enjoy special foods such as rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves and mochi wrapped in oak leaves. Oak and bamboo symbolize longevity and strength.

Hina Matsuri Festival Dolls Japan

Hina Matsuri

A Celebration of Girls and Spring

While not a national holiday, 3 March,
Hina Matsuri
, or Girls Day, is widely celebrated throughout Japan. Many feel that it should become a national holiday.  



Hina Matsuri is also known as "peach blossom festival" (Momo no Sekku), as the peach tree is known for its ability to ward off bad spirits and demons, and its fruit is a symbol of longevity. The date, 3 March, represents the beginning of the peach trees blooming. Hina matsuri is not a national holiday, although there are many that feel it should be. 

Hina Matsuri is one of five "Sekku" celebrations that mark the passing of seasons. Sekku means seasonal division. The five include:

January 1 (Oshogatsu - New Year)
May 5 (Kodomo no Hi) or Children's day)
July 7 (Tanabata or Star festival)
September 9 (Kiku no sekku or Chrysanthemum Festival)

Traditionally, parents or grandparents of a newborn girl buy a set of hina dolls for the baby. From the end of February to March 3, hina dolls dressed in Japanese ancient costumes are displayed on tiered platforms representing the imperial court of the Heian period (A.D. 794 to 1185). As this festival originated from a practice in nobility, the dolls are displayed hierarchically with the emperor and empress at the top

People pray for the health and happiness of young girls. Japanese Girls' Day, also known as the Doll's Festival. Hinamatsuri is celebrated by families displaying a set of hina dolls in the house and serving special foods that are ceremonially delicious and beautiful.


Travel Tip:

If you are going to Japan on business, do not go during Golden Week. However, if you are looking for a lovely time of the year and a cultural experience, by all means, visit during this period.

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