In parks across the city of Osaka, families, couples and friends enjoying the warm weather playing games or relaxing in the sun. In shopping centers clerks and cashiers hurriedly serve the melee of customers. At amusement parks, people line up for hours to ride on roller coasters, Ferris wheels and other attractions. It is Golden Week in Japan a time to wind down. Between April 29th until May 6th the Japanese enjoy an extended vacation period.
Parks are popular places to relax for Japanese people during Golden Week.
The reason for the name “Golden Week” is because there are a number of national holidays almost back-to-back during this part of the year and that, coupled with the fact that the weather is usually warm and sunny, is the perfect excuse for Japanese people to take time off from their busy, yet mundane, days of work and school.
A busy food court in an Osaka downtown shopping mall.
Mister Donut in the food court positioned next to KFC.
It is also said that the name “Golden Week” was originally what movie theater owners said around 40 or 50 years ago. I’ve been told that movie premieres were usually held during this time and movie theater owners, anticipating a large profit in ticket sales, would say to each other, “It’s going to be a golden week” – “golden” = money.
Game centers beguile the young of their pocket money.
Children’s Day is held during Golden Week on May 5rd. It is a day when, originally, families celebrated their child’s health and encouraged him or her to be strong and make something of their life. Around two or three hundred years ago, Children’s Day was devoted to male children, fortunately times have changed.
The Children’s Day flower – Shoubu. In English Acorus Calamus. It was chosen as the flower of children because its petals resemble that of a Japanese sword or katana. Its smell is also strong and sweet which, according to myth, stops badness from entering a child. The flower is sometimes put into a child’s bath water although this particular custom is not so common any longer.