The most wonderful time of the year with Japanese. Not Christmas, Not Obon, but it’s all about Golden Week, coming between April 29th and May 5th every year.

You live here and finally have some time off of work? You’re about to have your first trip ever to Japan during Golden Week? Even first time experiencing the madness of Golden Week? So brace yourself and get ready for this upcoming madness by following the checklist below:

1.  Beforehand reservations is a must

If you are looking to spend your holiday in Japan, especially in major cities such as Osaka, Tokyo, or even in central hills area, but haven’t made any plans, then it’s extremely hard for you to get a room on the fly, while most Japanese make their reservations for Golden Week anywhere from 3-6 MONTHS in advance. So if you even find rooms still available at your desired destination, I don’t expect you can pay for them at a low price range. As usual, check out Agenda, Booking.com or Rakuten travel for best deals, of course, way beforehand!

2. Get ready for crowded trains as well as the high way

I bet you watched video clips about how crowded a train can be and how it can pack people in Japan’s major cities every morning at least once, and Golden Week is ten times as bad, or even worse. The same as booking a hotel, to expect major lines to have any reserved seat left is just fantasies. Reservation for Shinkansen and any express trains are must. I’d recommend you to be extremely patience when taking the train during this period.

Same thing may happen with the high way, when all the families have cars, and all of them decide to take road trip to their favorites spots! Keep your adventures as local as possible. Or take the train. But see above. All I could say is please be very patience with traffics during Golden Week!

3. The best time to view blooming flowers

Everyone rushes to Japan just to see the cherry blossoms, and the first week in May is the best viewing season for not only some late-blooming cherry blossom but also other flowers such as azaleas, tulips and the only-in-Japan wisteria. While flower parks themselves will be packed, you’ll catch plenty of petals just on side streets, public parks … and in neighbors’ gardens. Well, I hope you still have beautiful photos in flower parks during these days.

Japanese wisteria

Japanese wisteria. From Tmyun

4. Enjoy all the festivals

You can say there’d be festivals everywhere in Japan during Golden Week: from flower viewing events, to a cultural event or historical parade for Children’s Day or simply a random city’s celebration, you’ll have tons of things to do. 

One of the festivals

One of the festivals. From Wikipedia

Koinobori, a carp shaped window socks decoration for Children’s Day

Koinobori, a carp shaped window socks decoration for Children’s Day

5. Strength to handle all the shopping and sales

Golden Week is not the holiday for families and workers to take a rest, but also for crazy shopping since sometimes shopping in Golden Week just feels like another version of Cyber Monday, but lasts longer. So be prepared to handle all the shopping bags and coupons!

After all the warnings including all the good and bad points, even on the tough days, trust me, Japan is a great place to be!

Thumbnail image is from Wikipedia