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Golden Week – Japan's National Holidays

Japanese National HolidaysJapan’s culture is known to be one of the most traditional and rich in the world. The people of Japan host an abundance of celebrations each year that have become embedded in their culture throughout their very long cultural history. Golden Week brings together four different national events as one huge celebration of Japan’s rich culture. Golden Week is an important and special time for much of Japan’s population with most choosing to take part in the celebrations. Whether it’s adorning their homes and neighbourhoods with bright and colourful decorations such as vibrant lanterns and Koinobori or heading to local celebrations for each event with close friends and family, this traditional goings-on is a way for each and every person to recognise and honour both Japan’s culture and its community.

Constitution Day

Constitution Day is just one of the important celebrations within Golden Week. The meaning of democracy has become an important aspect of Japanese culture; Constitution Day was chosen as the day to reflect on democracy and its role within the Japanese government. In the early noughties, newspapers reported on a part of the Japanese constitution that focuses on settling international disputes. Although article nine came into effect after the second world war in the late 1940’s, the reports in the newspapers demonstrate how Constitution Day brings reflecting on the importance of democracy back into relevance today.

Greenery Day

Japanese National HolidaysThe environment and nature are highly respected in Japanese culture. Emperor Hirohito had an incredibly strong interest in plants and the beauty of nature, so much so that he established a day to celebrate all of its wonders. Greenery Day traditionally encourages the people of Japan to nurture and reflect on nature. The main event during Greenery Day is a festival held in Tokyo which is attended by the reigning Emperor and Empress. After addressing and greeting the attendees of the festival, the guests of honour carry out the historic tradition of planting a tree and sowing seeds. After the opening ceremony, the celebrations of Greenery Day continue with processions of Japanese floats along Japan’s beautiful, flowing rivers. As this significant day comes to an end, the dark night skies of Japan are illuminated with bright paper lanterns and mesmerising fireworks to mark the close of Greenery Day in the most stunning way possible. Not everyone in Japan is able to attend the main event, instead, many choose to celebrate this day by either planting trees or reflecting upon nature in other thoughtful activities.

Showa Day

As a highly important figure, the birthday of Emperor Hirohito is a day to be celebrated nationally. After the Emperor’s death in 1989, Showa Day was established to commemorate his life. The day’s importance is revealed even further when considering that it even moved the traditional Greenery Day from its original date from the 29th of April to the 4th of May. Showa Day encourages the public to reflect on the turbulent six decades of Hirohito’s reign and how he acted as a role model for many.

Children’s Day

Japanese National HolidaysThe 5th day of the 5th month in the year marks the final celebration of Golden Week; Children’s Day has been a national holiday since 1948, however, it has been a day of celebration in Japan since ancient times. This last event honours the individual strengths of children along with their happiness and the joy that they bring. Many of the traditions of Children’s Day use food to symbolise the meaning of the day. One of the most popular traditions is for those celebrating the festival to eat rice cakes that have been filled with bean paste and wrapped in oak leaves to symbolise strength.


Koinobori are perhaps the most recognised symbol of Golden Week. These traditional decorations are beautifully designed to feature bright and vibrant colours to ensure that they can be seen from afar. The Koinobori are often hung so that they can float in the wind just how they would appear when swimming in the rivers or the sea. The Koinobori are traditionally displayed to represent a family; the Black carp represents the father figure, this carp holds the Japanese name of Magoi and is usually the largest fish. The Red carp, which is known as the Higoi, represents the mother. The last carp is usually green or blue in colour and, as the smallest fish, represents the child of the family, traditionally the son. Above the family of koi sits a colourful flying dragon streamer.

Celebrate Golden Week With Gifts From Atelier Japan

The luxury handcrafted collections on Atelier Japan link perfectly to Japan’s rich culture and the traditions of the national holidays of Golden Week. From perfectly blended Matcha and fine hand-painted pottery to beautifully crafted ornaments, the creations from our expert makers are a wonderful way to celebrate Golden Week at any time of the year.
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