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Top 10 Things to Do During Golden Week in Tokyo, Japan

During my first Golden Week in Japan, I didn’t realize that the holiday week was actually a collection of four national holidays that all fall on the same week (Showa Day, Constitution Day, Greenery Day, and Children’s Day). I hate to admit that I was blind to the festivities the week held during my first Golden Week here. Now that I’ve been in Japan for two years (and coming up on my third Golden Week), I highly recommend engaging like the Japanese do during this week: embrace nature, accept the crowds, and attend a local event. From cultural attractions to nature-themed festivals, enjoy Japan’s biggest holiday season with these top things to do during Golden Week in Tokyo.

Attend the Wisteria Festival at Kameido Tenjin Shrine Kameido Tenjin Shrine Wisteria Festival, Tokyo
Credit: Kameido Tenjin Shrine Wisteria Festival, Tokyo by © Akulamatiau | Dreamstime.com

Attend the Wisteria Festival at Kameido Tenjin Shrine

What is it? Kameido Tenjin Shrine is a prominent cultural attraction in Tokyo, no matter what time of year you visit the city. 

Why do it? During Golden Week, the shrine plays host to the Wisteria Festival, where guests can witness the blooming wisteria plants that dangle from pergolas around the shrine’s pond and iconic red bridge. 

Good to know: This event is one of the most popular flower festivals in the city and lasts for about three weeks, from late April to early May. 

Go Hiking in Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park Chichibu Tama Kai National Park
Credit: Chichibu Tama Kai National Park by Reginald Pentinio via flickr.com

Go Hiking in Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park

What is it? This national park is located outside of Tokyo, making it a great option for those wanting to escape the crowds that come with traveling Japan during Golden Week.

Why do it? There is no better way to celebrate Greenery Day this Golden Week than at one of Japan’s national parks. Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities to do in Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park

Good to know: At Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, there are hiking trails for every skill level, from easy valley hikes to rugged mountain treks. 

Unwind in Yoyogi Park Yoyogi Park
Credit: Yoyogi Park by Dick Thomas Johnson via Flickr

Unwind in Yoyogi Park

What is it? Explore one of Tokyo’s largest city parks full of spacious lawns, ponds, and walking paths. 

Why do it? During Golden Week, international festivals often coincide with the holiday. The park’s event square is where the festivities take place. However, even if a festival isn’t occurring during the time you visit Yoyogi Park, this natural area is still a great spot to unwind after exploring nearby Harajuku attractions. 

Good to know: Just a five-minute walk from Harajuku Station, this park is an easily-accessible attraction for Tokyo travelers.

See Tokyo From Above at the Tokyo Skytree Tokyo Skytree during Golden Week
Credit: Tokyo Skytree during Golden Week by Kyle Hasegawa via Flickr

See Tokyo From Above at the Tokyo Skytree

What is it? Tourists typically flock to the Tokyo Skytree observation tower to catch a bird’s eye view of the city. As Japan’s tallest tower, Tokyo Skytree is an iconic landmark of the city’s skyline. 

Why do it? During Golden Week, embrace Children’s Day at the Skytree Town Carp Streamer Festival, where you can view traditional carp streamers that are displayed in the sky around Tokyo Skytree Town.

Good to know: Tokyo Skytree is more than just a tower; it’s a beacon for cultural events as well as a building with over 300 shops and restaurants. 

Experience the Living Exhibits at the Art Aquarium Museum Art Aquarium Museum
Credit: Art Aquarium Museum by artaquarium.jp

Experience the Living Exhibits at the Art Aquarium Museum

What is it? This unique attraction is a mix of an aquarium and an art museum. This museum is a one-of-a-kind spot to visit no matter if you’re traveling in Tokyo during Golden Week or not.

Why do it? With colorfully lit tanks in unique shapes and installations, the Art Aquarium Museum is a permanent “living” exhibit with over 30,000 goldfish. 

Good to know: Located in the district of Ginza, check out other hot spots in the area while you’re here, especially the high-end shopping.

Admire Tokyo at Night at the Kurayami Festival Kurayami Festival is also referred to as the
Credit: Kurayami Festival is also referred to as the "Darkness Festival" by Eddy Chang via Flickr

Admire Tokyo at Night at the Kurayami Festival

What is it? This unique festival, referred to as the “Darkness Festival,” occurs at night during Golden Week. 

Why do it? Visit the festival after the sun goes down to witness floats lit with paper lanterns, locals dressed in traditional garb, and plenty of food stalls and vendors. The beauty of the lights at night and the exuberant energy here make this a must-visit event to experience during Golden Week. 

Good to know: Kurayami Festival takes place in one of Tokyo’s oldest shrines, Okunitama Shrine.

View the Flower Displays at Showa Memorial Park Showa Memorial Park
Credit: Showa Memorial Park by Carles Tomás Martí via Flickr

View the Flower Displays at Showa Memorial Park

What is it? As the largest park in Tokyo, Showa Memorial Park (Showa Kinen Koen) has plenty to offer travelers, like seasonal flower displays, water fountains, museums, and spacious lawns. 

Why do it? Another great spot to enjoy during Golden Week’s “Greenery Day,” the park hosts a flower festival that runs for several weeks during the spring season, where visitors can view colorful spring blooms. 

Good to know: Perfect for tourists wanting to escape the crowds that Golden Week often draws, Showa Memorial Park is found through a 30-minute train ride outside of the city center. 

Live Like It's the 17th Century at Edo Wonderland Edo Wonderland
Credit: Edo Wonderland by Julie via Flickr

Live Like It's the 17th Century at Edo Wonderland

What is it? Edo Wonderland is a cultural attraction where visitors can experience what it was like in the Edo period, which is 17th century Japan.

Why do it? Edo Wonderland is open during Golden Week. From traditional food, dress, and performances, this themed attraction is a great way to embrace Japanese history. Dress in traditional kimono, train like a ninja, or simply indulge in some soba noodles. 

Good to know: There is an admission fee to enter Edo Wonderland. A free shuttle is available from the JR Nikko Station for visitors arriving by railway.

Have a Photo Shoot at Hitachi Seaside Park Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
Credit: Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan by © Nicholashan | Dreamstime.com

Have a Photo Shoot at Hitachi Seaside Park

What is it? Experience fields of blooming flowers at Hitachi Seaside Park. Found outside of Tokyo in Ibaraki, this nature park is worth the 1.5-hour commute from Tokyo’s city center. 

Why do it? During Golden Week, you’ll experience blue nemophila flowers in bloom, an ideal spot to embrace Golden Week’s Greenery Day. 

Good to know: Since this park’s nemophila blooms are fairly famous and peak bloom usually coincides with Golden Week, expect a crowded visit during this time. 

Spend the Day at the Shibazakura Flower Festival Shibazakura Flower Festival
Credit: Shibazakura Flower Festival by Ben & Gab via Flickr

Spend the Day at the Shibazakura Flower Festival

What is it? This multi-week festival occurs when shibazakura, or pink moss in English, is in bloom. 

Why do it? This event is great for travelers wanting to catch a glimpse of Japan’s nature as well as the elusive Mount Fuji. If you attend the festival on a clear day, you’ll be able to see Mount Fuji in the distance. 

Good to know: This festival doesn’t just occur during Golden Week, but lasts during the moss’ peak bloom, which is from mid-April into late May. 

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