As we wave goodbye to the fleeting sakura season, it’s time to start looking forward to another favorite time of the year: the Golden Week. These series of national holidays falling from late April to early May are what many Japanese salarymen live for and the cause of a massive travel exodus both within and out of Japan.
This year’s Golden Week, however, is like no other. May 1 (right in the middle of the holidays) will mark the beginning of the Reiwa Era when Naruhito, the eldest son of the current Emperor Akihito, ascends to the throne as the 126th Emperor of Japan. This will be a special time for the whole of Japan and we’ll be witnessing a number of events and celebrations taking place across the nation.
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Luckily, in addition to a new Emperor, Japan also gets an extra day off, making this year’s Golden Week a whole 10-day vacation, running from April 27 through May 6. However, since this will be Japan’s longest holiday for the year, expect the golden routes to get overpacked, traffic to get horrendous from Tokyo toward central Japan, and hotels, plane tickets and train fees to skyrocket. Staying in Tokyo, therefore, could be a wise decision. The great news is that there’s plenty to do in the city to make the most of your holidays.
Here’s a list of Savvy Tokyo-recommended things to do during Golden Week if you’ll be staying in or near the capital. We promise you won’t be bored!
1. Tour 95 of Tokyo’s top museums, zoos, and gardens with the ‘Grutto Pass’
Though a popular destination for most Tokyoites, the capital’s galleries tend to be relatively calm during travel seasons, especially the less popular ones. The Grutto Pass, which just went on sale this April, is a great deal which offers you a completely free or discounted access to 95 popular museums, zoos, gardens, attractions and other facilities in the Tokyo area. It costs just ¥2,200 per person and is one of the best deals you can get if you’re into art and culture. The pass is valid for two months from purchase, but all you really need is just one Golden Week to cover them all.
Among the 95 facilities are a number of exciting