What is the Seasonal Tradition During Golden Week? Clamming at the Beach!

‘Golden Week’ which is a Japanese term applied to the period containing four public holidays: April 29 – Showa-no-hi (Showa Day), May 3 – Kenpou-kinen-bi (Constitution Memorial Day), May 4 – Midori-no-hi (Greenery Day) and May 5 – Kodomo-no-hi (Children’s Day). Golden Week is the longest vacation period of the year for many Japanese people, but there are also other long vacations like Obon (Summer time) and Shôgatsu (New Year’s holiday).

The last day of Golden Week is May 5th. It is Children’s Day in Japan and is also the Japanese Boy’s Festival called tango-no-sekku. Traditionally, families of boys hang up carp streamers (koinobori) outside their houses around the holiday. There are many different designs and sizes of koinobori displayed at Japanese koinobori festivals.

During Golden Week most people usually travel around the country or abroad, so not only tourist attractions, but also train stations, airports, high ways and hotels in Japan are very crowded. Popular foreign destinations are for example Guam and Hawaii.

Among others I want to introduce you one of the most popular attractions during the period today: clamming at the beach.

According to Mainichi there were 30,000 people at the Umino-kôen beach on 1.May 2010!! Moreover there are about 80 clamming places around Japan, so you can imagine how many people went clamming during their vacation.

Most Japanese people have been to clamming places many times as kindergartens and schools all over Japan would make the trip to go clamming nearly every year. Clamming at the beach is done by harvesting clams from below the surface of the tidal mud flats where they live. At the same time digging is often done using a straight long-handled spading fork.

In my opinion, it is a perfect activity in this season since around April and May isn’t yet warm enough to swim in the sea but you can go in the water, even up to your knees. Besides this, you can enjoy whole day outside in the sun and pay relative cheap entrance fees.

If you are in Japan around this season, it is worth doing it!


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