It was supposed to be a period of joyous national celebration, the 10-day Golden Week public holiday this year to celebrate the ascension of the new emperor to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
So why are they miserable and stressed?
A survey by Expedia found population 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 27 Asahi Newspaper, which also includes the views of the housewives and the retired, found that more people were unhappy than were the long break.
"The ridiculous idea of the century," complained the Daily Gendai, a tabloid popular with salarymen, as Japan's ubiquitous legions of office workers are known. "Only rich people are delighted. Don't give us 10-days consecutive holidays."
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With travel and tourist sites crowded, banks and many child-care centers closed, and some small businesses struggling, the mammoth holiday simply is not turning out to be the unalloyed celebration of the government had intended.
Everything from email anxiety to social anxiety compounds problems for many Japanese people. The dissatisfaction exposes the problems of overwork, inequality and social fragmentation in modern Japan.
Part of the reason: Workers in Japan's service industries simply aren't getting time off. Indeed, staff shortages in the country's tight labor market mean many pulling extra long shifts over the break. "A hellish 10 days" for service industry, read one tweet cited in a survey published by the Nikkei financial newspaper.
"Someone's 10 consecutive holidays are made by someone else's 10 days of consecutive service," said one tweet shared or liked 120,000 times, quoting a disgruntled employee of a department store who had just worked on the entire period.
Another Twitter survey by User Local found not only positive words such as "good" and "rest" associated with Golden Week, but also "service industry," "die," "busy," "crowded" and "scared."
A trending blog post on Niconico, and news portal popular with young people, summed up by mood among many:
In a post by Career Connection Media Outlet, a woman in her 30s complained that she couldn't take any time off at all because the hotel where she works is fully booked. "If it was the government who decided on a 10-day holiday, they should think about people in the service sector who can't take leave," she wrote. "I wish they would at least raise wages during the holidays."
Golden Week is a string of holidays from the Emperor Showa's birthday to the Children's Day that comes in quick succession every year, meaning many people get the week off. The term was first coined by movie companies to get people to take advantage of "golden opportunity" to watch and film, but it soon became part of common usage.
This year, the holiday has been extended, to mark the abdication and retirement of Emperor Akihito and the ascension to the throne of his son Naruhito, with ceremonies on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Many offices are closed, but Japan's office workers aren't necessarily looking forward to the time off.
A survey of 600 working women conducted by Coca-Cola (Japan) found what it called an unexpected result: Nearly 2 in 3 felt "pre-holiday" stress and were despondent as the break approached.
"It's depressing to imagine thinking about tons of emails after the holidays," one woman was quoted as saying while another worried about the work that would be pile up for her time off.
Nor is everyone quite sure what to do with the enforced leisure.
A survey by the Meiji Yasuda insurance company found three out of every four people to spend the week relaxing at home. A similar proportion of those surveyed by the Spacemarket rental company said they had no plans for the week.
Many are put off by sharp rises in airfares and hotel rates – a website run by H.I.S. The travel agency has a flight of flights and has tripled over the holiday. Others can't cope with the crowds, or simply make it too late to make a reservation, and survey by Hankyu Travel found.
But Spacemarket's survey found that many people wanted to ask their friends to hang out, but hadn't done so because their friends seemed "too busy" or because they were worried about rejection. Instead, many will probably end up at home, trying to catch up on sleep and watching TV or DVDs.
Many housewives weren't looking forward to the holiday, and survey by Do House found, mainly because of the added burden of cooking and homework with their families at home. Others worried about traffic congestion or unintended overspending.
Families with children have been complaining for months that many child-care centers will be closed, with the problem especially for parents who still have to work. Local governments have been offering subsidies to stay open or offering alternative plans.
There are also concerns that hospitals are struggling to secure enough doctors to work over the holiday or that financial markets might react after the break are other complaints. The Daily Gendai blamed prime minister Shinzo Abe and foreign minister Taro Aso, who are believed to be the richest politicians in Japan.
"The common people's reality is unimaginable for the Abe-Aso pair," the tabloid wrote.