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This Is The Week that Japan Goes on the Road

Date Posted: 2001-04-28

This weekend marks the start of the so-called "Golden Week" in Japan, a string of national holidays celebrating many cultural festivities and remembrances across the nation.

The Golden Week is the longest string of holidays in Japan with many large companies closing for as long as 10 days to give their employees time off. That also causes huge traffic as people try to travel abroad and domestic destinations all at the same time. It is said that Japan’s population drops by millions during those days as people head overseas.

Okinawa also gets its share of the traffic. As tourism is the most important industry here, most Okinawan companies with the exception of government offices and banks do not close. In a matter of fact, the Golden Week is the busiest season of the year for restaurants, hotels and resorts.

Starting with Greenery Day on Monday, Golden Week holidays include Constitution Memorial Day (Kempou Kinenbi) on Thursday, Citizen's Day (Kokumin No Kyuujitsu) on Friday and Children's Day (Kodomo No Hi) Saturday.

Greenery Day was originally set aside to celebrate the birth date of Emperor Showa. Beginning in 1989 with the emperor's death, it was changed to a national holiday in celebration of nature, one of many issues the late Emperor held close to his heart. Constitution Memorial Day celebrates the establishment of the modern Japanese constitution in 1947.

Kokumin no Kyuujitsu, on May 4, is the newest of the holidays, and was enacted only three years ago to encourage nation’s companies to close shop and give their workers time off for an entire week..

May 5, is the pinnacle of the holiday called "Kodomo no hi," or Children's Day. children's Day, formerly known as Boys' Day, is when colorful carp streamers (koinobori) are raised on poles, each representing a son in the family.

Tropical Beach Season Opening

Rescue demo, treasure hunt, fish catch, beach flags, concerts and more.
Date: Apr. 29 (Sun) 13:00
Place: Tropical Beach, Ginowan City

Sea carnival 2001 in Sesoko island

Fish catch, beach volleyball, treasure hunt and more.
Date: Apr. 29 (Sun)
Place: Sezoko Beach in Motobu

Ryukyu Kingdom Festival

A ritual dance with a lion mask and Eisa dances will be performed throughout the festival.
Recreation of life styles and people in the old castle town of Ryukyu Kingdom sends you for a time-trip back to the old days.
Try out some traditional handicraft such as glass, pottery, dyeing and textile weaving.
Collect stamps from various locations throughout the village and get a present.
Date: May 3 (Thu.) through 6 (Sun.)
Place: Gyokusendo Kingdom Village

The 27th Naha Harii

Harii means dragon in Chinese. The boats used in Harii races have a sculpture of dragonhead in the bow and the tail at the stern. The races are held to ensure good catch for fishermen during the coming season. The Main Harii races are scheduled for May 5 throughout the day. At the festival grounds there will be various entertainment, Eisa dances, live music, comedy shows and more on two special stages. Fireworks are scheduled for every night.
May 3 - Fireworks, 20:40 - 21:00
May 4 - Kachimba1551 concert, 19:00 - 20:20, Fireworks 20:40 - 21:00
May 5 - Harii race in two categories, general and strong. Qualification races for the general category start at 10:30. Women’s foreign team, Torii Knights will start at 12:00. Teams Niraikanai, Shogun, and Devil Dogs will start at 12:15. Qualification rounds for the ‘strong’ category start at 14:15 with men’s foreign teams competing each other first. The names and numbers of men’s foreign teams are the same as women’s teams. Finals for both categories will start at 15:30. Fireworks 20:30 - 21:00
Place: Naha New Port (Aja port)

Cow Parade in South East Botanical Gardens

For this extraordinary annual parade, artists from various parts of the world decided to create their impressions of cows. The first parade took place in ’98 in Zurich, Switzerland. The next years it was held in Chicago, and last year was New York’s turn. “Cow Parade Holdings Corporation” collaborating with each city organizes the parade. The cows exhibited in the parade go on an auction afterwards and the proceeds are given to charity organizations. The South East Botanical Gardens in Okinawa bought nine cows on a net auction, and the sculptures will debut for everyone to see in the park starting Golden Week.
Place: Tonan Shokubutsu Rakuen (South East Botanical Gardens)
For more info 939-2555, email info@sebg.co.jp or visit www.sebg.co.jp

Peter Pan Dolls Musical at Neo Park

A playgroup using stuffed dolls presents the funny and moving story of Peter Pan in Nago City’s Neo Park.
Other Golden Week events include an Orchid Festival. A ride on live elephant turtle is something unusual that is offered for children.
Peter Pan show schedule
Apr. 29 & 30 at 13:00 / 15:00
May 3 – 6 at 12:00 / 14:00 / 16:00
Admission: adults ¥1,200, children ¥800 for advance tickets, ¥1500 and ¥800 at door.
Place: Neo Park Okinawa in Nago, 0980-52-6348

World Cat Exhibition in Naha

Cats from all over the world rule the Ryubo Hall in Kumoji, Naha City, during the Golden Week. Even some cats that are stars in TV commercials will participate. More cats can be seen at a pphoto exhibition home cats.
Date: Apr. 25 - May 6, 10:30 - 19:30
Place: Ryubo Hall in Palette Kumoji, Naha
Admission: adults ¥500, children ¥400

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