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Wednesday, 30th April 2014
In Japan Travel News,

Japan airports packed for Golden Week start

Tuesday (April 29th) saw the start of Japan's Golden Week, a holiday period comprising four public holidays that sees many businesses close down for an entire seven-day period as workers head home to spend time with their families.

As always, the influx of travel placed huge demand on Japan's extensive public transport network, with Narita and Haneda airports particularly strained as the expat community made plans to return home.

According to Narita officials, 34,000 passengers departed on Tuesday, while Haneda claimed that 11,000 people passed through its departure and arrival halls. Between them, the two airports serve the Japanese capital Tokyo.

Golden Week ends on May 6th, with the travel influx to be recreated on this day as people rush back to the major cities to resume work.

The public holidays themselves often carry multiple meanings, with April 29th holding two official celebrations including the Emperor's Birthday and Showa Day, which encourages people to reflect on the turbulent reign of the Showa Emperor.

May 3rd is constitution memorial day while May 4th is Greenery Day, an extension of Showa Day since it acknowledges the wartime ruler's adoration of plant life and nature. Children are honoured during Golden Week with a special day on May 5th, although in practice, it is still very much treated as Boy's Day as tradition dictates.
Japanese society does not celebrate May Day but instead holds a Labour Thanksgiving Day in November every year which serves a similar purpose.

When travelling during a public holiday in Japan, it is always worth booking seats for the Shinkansen or airlines well in advance as prices tend to rise dramatically in line with demand.

Written by Graham McPherson


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