You may have noticed, that people are starting to get excited about Golden Week. Of course, people always get excited around Golden Week, when some public holidays combine to make an extended block of time off, but this year it’s even better.
With Emperor Akihito abdicating this year, another holiday has been added, meaning that 2019’s Golden Week is a whopping ten days, and in a country where taking more than three consecutive days off work is generally frowned upon, that’s a pretty big deal. So, with all this free time on your hands, the only question is what to do with yourself! Here are a few of our suggestions, just to get you going.
As fortune would have it, the annual Belgian Beer Weekend falls during Golden Week this year. Running from April 24 to May 6, it is a celebration for all things Belgian. From Stella Artois to Duvall, and pretty much everything in between, there are a vast amount of beers to sample, as well as some great food, making it the ideal way to kick off your Golden Week in party-style!
So, after a few beers on Saturday, you may be tempted to take it easy on Sunday, but how about burning through that hangover with a hike in the countryside, instead?
The Magome to Tsumago trail in the Kiso Valley is a beautiful trek along a well-maintained section of the old Nakasendo trail that once connected Tokyo with Kyoto. At eight kilometers, the trail is a relatively comfortable walk through the countryside, and the towns at either end are delightful spots with that old-style Japanese feel. Magome, beautifully restored with a broad stone walkway lined with carefully tended foliage, is a particular treat. Along the route, there are bus stops for if you tire easily.
April 29 is the birthday of former Emperor Showa, who died in the year 1989, so how about trying out Hanbey, a Showa era-themed restaurant in the Nagoya Station area? With the walls festooned with movie paraphernalia from the time, and 1960s ‘enka’ music blasting out overhead, it’s difficult not to think that you have been swept back in time.
The food isn’t fantastic, but it is cheap, lively and a whole load of fun. Be sure to ask for the English menu. The translations are so hilarious that it’s difficult to believe that it’s not done with a tongue firmly wedged in a Showa cheek.
Aichi Prefecture is well known for its manufacturing, and aeronautics in particular. Aichi Museum of Flight is, as the name suggests, is a haven for all things airplane. The museum, in a large hangar, houses a handful of airplanes including an NAMC YS-11, a turboprop airliner used by the Japan Self-Defense Force in the early 1960s, a twin jet Hawker 400, and an MH2000 utility helicopter.
Besides airplanes, there are various other attractions including a science laboratory with simulators, an orientation theater, and an observation deck from which you may catch planes taking off from the airfield.
Where: Hayashizaki-1 Toyoba, Toyoyama, Nishikasugai District (map)
As it celebrates the abdication of the much-beloved emperor Akihito, this would be a great day to visit Ise Jingu, one of the three most important shrines in Japan. Here, one of the Three Imperial Regalia (or Three Sacred Treasures of Japan), the “eight-hand mirror,” was, according to Japanese folklore, brought to earth by Ninigi-no-Mikoto; legendary ancestor of the Japanese imperial line.
Visiting Ise Jingu is a a pilgrimage that all Japanese are encouraged to make at least once in their lifetime, and it is undertaken by some 7.5 million people annually. Set on a 13,600 acre forest, the two main shrines of Jingu are comprised of a fully 123 shrines, in addition to the main Geku and Naiku Shrines.
Image: By 名古屋太郎 [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons
Image: by Jinny via flickr.com [CC BY-SA 2.0] – Modified
Image: via https://belgianbeerweekend.jp/nagoya/beers – Modified
Image: Mark Guthrie (Own Work)
Image: via https://aichi-mof.com/about.html (modified)
Image: Paul Conway (Own Work)
Image: via Wikicommons – Modified
Image: via https://www.legoland.jp/en/