golden week 2020 Japan tokyo free tokyo

The first Golden Week since Japan reopened to tourists and post-pandemic. If the first cherry blossom season with international tourists post-pandemic is anything to go by – Golden Week 2023 will see huge crowds at all the key events and tourist attractions! This is the first time in four years that there is a full complement of Golden Week events.

Golden Week 2023 Dates

Golden Week every year is split into two. One day is at the end of April and three days together from May 3rd to 5th. If one of the days falls on a Sunday another day will be given off in lieu. The 2023 Golden Week dates are:

Saitama Prefecture Golden Week Events in 2023

In order to get this list out in a timely manner, any event with an existing blog post is linked to that post where you can pick up all the pertinent information.

  1. Events starting during Golden Week
  2. Ongoing events
  3. Flower displays / festivals
    • Festivals
    • In bloom
  4. Golden Week specific events
    • Children’s events
    • Water play
  5. Places that are normally free in during Golden Week

1. Events starting during Golden Week in Saitama Prefecture

Umbrella Sky

The Moominvalley Park umbrella sky starts the day before Golden Week on Friday April 28th:

Water Fes

The annual Water Fes at Sayama Ski Resort starts on Showa Day, April 29th:

2. Ongoing Events

Lanterns at Aobaen:


At Kadokawa Culture Museum:

Laketown Boat Park

Take a boat out on the lake at Laketown!

Tove Jansson Light up

The Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s Forest has night light up every weekend. But during the Golden Week period they have it on nightly:

Nagatoro Cherry Blossom Festival

One of the longest “sakura matsuri” in Saitama, Nagatoro Cherry Blossom festival started in March and ends after Golden Week:

Last chance for strawberry picking

The strawberry picking season is winding down now. Those strawberry picking farms that don’t close at the end of the April, often close for the season after Golden Week has ended.

3. Flower Displays / Festivals

*Please note that although many of these flower locations still have their festivals on over Golden Week, in some cases the actual flowers are either no longer in bloom or past their prime. Also, the weather and fluctuating temperatures may effect the bloom of the remaining flowers over the period of Golden Week. Please do check the official websites, linked within each post, for the most recent updates.*


In bloom

4. Golden Week specific events


Koinobori, or carp streamers / flying carp as they are often called in English, are flown for Children’s Day which falls on May 5th annually. Children’s Day marks the last day of Golden Week. Here are some places you can see koinobori:

(There were no carp streamers and renge in Kuki City last year, 2022, according to the official website. There is currently no official information available – either way – for 2023. However, several locals have posted on social media to say that the renge festival will not be on in 2023. The renge is blooming though).

Ice-cream Expo

The annual ice-cream expo with more than 100 ice-cream choices!

The Grand Bonsai Festival

The Grand Bonsai Festival takes place annually during Golden Week:

International Friendship Fair

On May 3rd and 4th:

Kasukabe Big Kite Festival

Tango no Sekku Hanging Decorations

In Shiki:

Outdoor Park

Other events on over Golden Week

Children’s events

You will find that most of the municipal facilities, and some private ones too, that are aimed at children, have some events during golden week. However, due to the pandemic, many are temporarily suspended. Some of them are still on though. For example, Saitama Museum of Rivers, Kawaguchi Science Museum and the Saitama Prefecture Disaster Prevention Center have some Golden Week events for children planned. Other children’s events:

Water Play

Normally, the water play areas at places such as Saitama Children’s Zoo and Shinrin Park open on the first day of Golden Week, Showa no Hi. And then run until early September. The zoo did not open their water play area in 2022, but Shinrin Park did – but later in summer and with conditions. Quite a few water play areas did open in 2022 in the end, but not during Golden Week. There is some information available now for this year’s Golden Week. Water play areas open or opening over Golden Week:

5. Locations that have a “free in” day during Golden week

Unfortunately, one of the lingering ‘side effects’ of the pandemic, is that free in days have become few and far between. Venues are still trying to avoid crowding. Between 2020 and 2022, 99.9% of free in days were cancelled. Unfortunately, it would seem the same for 2023. I have only been able to confirm one, two, three free in locations in 2023:

  • Pre the pandemic Ogawa Genki Plaza would have two days were the planetarium was free in and a children’s day festival on those two days. Unfortunately, the children’s day festival does not seem to be on again in 2023. However, they are letting people visit the planetarium for free on one day in 2023 – May 5th.
  • Kawaguchi Green Center is free in for children under 12 years old on Children’s Day, May 5th.
  • Kawaguchi Science Museum, planetarium and all, is free on Wednesday May 3rd.

Hereafter is the list for a ‘normal’ year, but not in 2023. This list is for future reference.

Comments are always appreciated...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.