While we're sure many of the people reading this article have heard of the Japanese holiday "Golden Week", many may not have heard about its sibling "Silver Week"? One of the main differences is that silver week doesn't actually occur every single year! The key to seeing silver week is actually September's Respect for the Aged Day and Autumnal Equinox Day. Let's take a deeper look into silver week, its origins, and what it means for Japan!
The Origins of Silver Week
The term "silver week" is actually quite a recent thing, and only started to be used from 2009 onwards. The dates for silver week during that year were 9/19 to 9/23 including both Respect for the Aged Day and Autumnal Equinox Day forming a 5-day holiday for a lot of Japan. It was then picked up by mass media and named "silver week" due to it being similar in length to golden week. However, there's a large difference, silver week typically only occurs once every few years due to the timings of the public holidays. It's because of this that many Japanese people actually plan to go abroad or take trips around Japan during this time.
- Want to know more about Golden Week? Check out this article → Japanese Holidays: One Long Break Once a Year! Everything About Golden Week!
How Silver Week Occurs
There are 2 things that need to happen for silver week to occur, respect for the aged day and autumnal equinox day. Japan actually uses the Happy Monday System, which moves some public holidays to Monday to allow for a 3-day weekend. It's because of this that respect for the aged day was moved to September's 3rd Monday. Autumnal equinox day typically takes place on either the 21st, 22nd, or 23rd of September, so depending on the year, it may not be a 4-day holiday. In the event that Autumnal equinox day lands on Wednesday, the Happy Monday System kicks in and the week becomes a 5-day weekend from Saturday.
- Want to know more about Respect for the Aged Day? Check out this article→ Japan’s Respect for the Aged Day
- Want to know more about Autumnal Equinox Day? Check out this article→ What Do you Do on Japan's Autumnal Equinox Day?
It's Sometimes Called "Platinum Week"
When the stars align and silver week turns into a 5-day weekend, some people call it Platinum Week. This is because of the scarcity of it, and platinum holding more value than silver.
When's the Next Silver Week?
After the silver week of 2009 and 2015, the next are scheduled to appear in 2026, 2032, and 2037. Even if a 5-day weekend doesn't occur in any given year, some people prefer to use their paid leave to ensure a 5-day weekend. During these times sightseeing spots across Japan have a surge in popularity and you'll find a lot of hotels are completely booked and public transport almost impossible to use, so it's good to ensure you try and plan around these timings if you're heading to Japan during September!