What makes this year’s Golden Week Celebration Extra Special

Golden Week consists of a series of public holidays in a row that all Japanese residents look forward to year in and year out. But the observance of Japan’s Golden Week this 2019 is the most eagerly anticipated. In view of the events surrounding the turn-over in Japanese Imperial structure, the Golden Week holiday period is extended to 10 days. To celebrate the ascent of Crowned Prince Naruhito to the throne after his father Emperor Akihito steps down, the Japanese national bicameral legislature deems it proper to declare May 1 as an additional holiday this year.

 

The annual Golden Week celebration normally starts at the end of April until early May with some working days in between. This year is remarkable because the Japanese can enjoy an uninterrupted 10-day Golden Week. Since May 1 has been designated as the enthronement day, this supposedly leaves April 30 and May 2 as the only working days. However, a holiday law in Japan provides that a work day stuck in between national holidays also becomes a public holiday by operation of law. As a result, Golden Week this 2019 will be a consecutive 10-day holiday.

 

Photo credit to: https://www.tripsavvy.com

The extra-long Golden Week will definitely give a huge boost to tourism-related industries, such as travel agencies, hotels, restaurants and airlines. JTB Corp., Japan’s leading travel agency, estimates that around 24.67 million people will be travelling in Japan or abroad during the Golden Week. A recent online survey also projects that 63.6 percent of restaurants and other eateries plan to operate as usual during the extended holidays. On the other hand, Japanese banks will be closed during the Golden Week though ATMs will remain in operation as a matter of convenience.

 

Considering the long holidays, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry encouraged local governments in every prefecture of Japan to make sure that emergency medical treatment and access to health services will remain available during the Golden Week. Municipal governments in Japan are thus updating their websites in order to notify the public which clinics and pharmacies will be accessible during the holidays. Based on the results of a survey conducted by Global Health Consulting, around 85 percent of the 123 hospitals that responded announced that they will provide outpatient services or consider staying open during Golden Week. However, 69.1 percent of said hospitals declared that they would be open for just two or three days. Among the hospitals that will partially be open is Tokyo’s Juntendo University Hospital. They will be operational on April 30, May 1 and May 2 for outpatients but accept emergency patients 24 hours a day.

 

Reference: Everything you need to know about this one-of-a-kind Golden Week in Japan

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