I've just learned that during my planned stay in Japan the Golden Week takes place. Having read loads of warnings we are thinking of going to Hokkaido during the festivals and see the beautiful nature.

Will it be even more crowded than the urban areas (Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto) or are Hokkaido's sights less frequented during golden week?

The intention behind the question is finding out where large tourist crowds go during Golden Week since Tokyo might be crowded according to StackExchange whilst Japan-Guide.com claims that people are leaving urban centres.

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    The question should now be objectively answerable.
    – Seb
    Feb 9, 2017 at 15:48
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    @pnuts: thank you for your comment. Its less the foreign visitors that bother me - I rather fear that all the Japanese have suddently time to enjoy all the sights instead of having to work ;)
    – Seb
    Feb 9, 2017 at 19:36
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    My problem with this question is that you are comparing if a whole prefecture is "more crowded" than major population centres (one assumes Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka / other Cities in the Kansai region etc). Going to fairly small towns in the middle of the countryside, you are not likely to find large crowds. However, heading to tourist hotspots like Otaru, Muroran, Hakodate, Asahikawa, Mt Tomamu, Mt Tokachi etc. you will probably find larger than average crowds. Feb 10, 2017 at 8:05
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    I was in Japan during Golden Week last year. On Takao-san near Tokyo it was much more crowded than a week later. In Tokyo itself (Shinjuku) I couldn't see any difference. Hotel price was a bit higher for those nights, but not significantly. I can't speak for Hokkaido or more rural areas, so no answer to the question as asked. I'd say go where you want to go and don't worry too much about crowding.
    – toni
    Feb 10, 2017 at 13:29
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    @Seb Normally the crowds leave the big city centers to spend time with family so certain parts of the countryside get busier, especially if there are some kind of festivals. Feb 16, 2017 at 10:49

2 Answers 2


I wouldn't recommend it, but not because of Golden Week: it's just a poor season to go. Hokkaido is far up north and cold, and April is when the snow starts to melt. This means that by May, when Golden Week rolls around, most ski resorts will have closed and the few that may remain open won't be at their best. But it's also still too early for hiking or most other outdoor sports, since temps can hover near zero and many trails remain snowed in. It's also too early for the flower fields of Biei/Furano. Despite all this, because it is Golden Week, prices will be higher than usual, particularly compared to the surrounding rock bottom off season. About the only positive is that (if lucky) you may see cherry blossoms, which will have ended in mainland Japan by now.

Source: A friend of mine living in Sapporo, who strongly recommended against visiting in Apr/May. We went in July instead, which was much better!

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    This has generally been my experience travelling to Hokkaido (and Tohoku) during golden week. Although OP appears to already decided on going to Hokkaido, I agree that it would be best to either change the timing or the location of the trip. Feb 17, 2017 at 0:46

Hokkaido is fine, but I wouldn't worry about urban areas. Your biggest gripe will be actual travel TO and FROM Hokkaido.

Certain places where Japanese people go on vacation will be crowded. Places like Hakone, Beppu, DisneySea/Land, etc. will be crowded. Transportation in and out of cities will also be busy.

If you're travelling around, you may run into some challenges, but if you're in a major metropolitan city, like Tokyo or Osaka or Kyoto you won't notice much difference. It's like taking the highways on a Friday Long Weekend.

Tokyo is always crowded. It can handle Golden Week without issue. Concentrated popular places like Disneyland can be crazy busy.

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    The question is about Hokkaido, which you do not mention at all.
    – fkraiem
    Feb 16, 2017 at 18:37
  • The question is whether Hokkaido is advisable because urban areas are crowded. Urban areas are NOT that crowded, but travelling TO Hokkaido may present challenges. Feb 17, 2017 at 19:18

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