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Holiday-filled Golden Week inspires workers to travel

Date Posted: 2007-04-26

Mainland Japanese are expected to begin pouring into Okinawa tomorrow as Golden Week begins a ten-day, holiday-laden run.

Okinawans, meanwhile, are expected to vacate the prefecture headed for both mainland Japan and international destinations. Golden Week packs five national holidays into a ten-day period, giving workers across the nation plenty of time for leisure and travel.

The first official holiday is Sunday, although businesses and factories begin closing tomorrow. Showa Day is the birthday of Emperor Showa who died in 1989. Since Showa Day falls on a Sunday, the following day, Monday, April 30th, is also commemorated as a holiday. This first holiday of Golden Week was celebrated as Green Day until last year.

May 3rd is Constitution Day, in honor of the post war constitution passed on this date in 1947. Greenery Day, Midori no hi, is devoted to both former Emperor Showa and to nature, because of his love for the outdoors. Celebrated May 4th thanks to a law that declares May 4th to automatically be a national holiday because it falls between two other holidays. Children’s Day, Kodomo no hi, is celebrated May 5th.

Easily recognized by the thousands of carp streamers flying in the breeze, and by samurai dolls that also symbolize strength and power in life, the Boy’s Festival celebrations take place on this day. The Girl’s Festival was celebrated March 3rd.

Japan’s five airlines—JAL, ANA, SkyMark, JTA and Ryukyu Air Commuter, report Okinawa travel numbers are rising each year. Japan Airlines saw a 3% increase in passengers from last year, while ANA jumped 22.5% over a year ago. JTA reports increases of 8.5%, Ryukyu Air Commuter says its seats filled rate soared 10.8%. SkyMark numbers were not listed in the latest survey.

Reservations are already 66% filled, with a scramble still expected in the coming 24 hours. Okinawans are signing up for flights to China, Korea, Taiwan and even the United States. Others are headed for Disney World in Tokyo.

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