These Are Japan’s Working and Non-Working Holidays
Time your visits accordingly.
Hatsumode or the first shrine visit is an important ritual done during the first few days of the year.
If you’re planning to go to Japan soon, it’s important for you to know which events and holidays are coming up. Below is a list of those that are commonly celebrated in the country.
|Date||Holiday or Event||National Holiday|
|January 1||New Year’s Day (O-shougatsu)||Yes|
|January 2||Bank Holiday||Yes|
|January 3||Bank Holiday||Yes|
|2nd Monday of January||Coming of Age Day (Seijin no hi)||Yes|
|February 11||National Foundation Day (Kenkoku Kinenbi)||Yes|
|March 21||Spring Equinox (Shunbun no hi)||Yes|
|April 29||Showa Day (Showa no hi)||Yes|
|May 3||Constitution Memorial Day (Kenpou kinenbi)||Yes|
|May 4||Greenery Day (Midori no hi)||Yes|
|May 5||Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi)||Yes|
|3rd Monday of July||Sea Day/Marine Day (Umi no hi)||Yes|
|August 11||Mountain Day (Yama no hi)||Yes|
|Sometime in Mid-August||Obon||No|
|3rd Monday of September||Respect for the Aged Day (Keirou no hi)||Yes|
|September 22 or 23||Autumn Equinox (Shuubun no hi)||Yes|
|Sometime in late half of September||Silver Week||Yes|
|2nd Monday of October||Health and Sports Day (Taiiku no hi)||Yes|
|November 3||Culture Day (Bunka no hi)||Yes|
|November 23||Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinrou kansha no hi)||Yes|
|*December 23 (will change in 2019)||Emperor’s Birthday (Tennou no tanjoubi)||Yes|
|December 29||End-of-Year Holidays (Nenmatsu nenshi)||No|
As a general rule of thumb, if the holiday falls on a weekend, the celebration will be moved to the following Monday. If the date falls between two national holidays, then it will be turned into a national holiday too.
During (or even a few days before and after) the end-of-year holidays, expect a mad rush at airports and train stations–especially the Shinkansen–as people go back to their hometowns for the holidays. Needless to say, getting plane tickets for domestic and even international flights are incredibly hard to get and expensive around this time.
Another holiday favorite, along with the New Year celebrations, is Golden Week, which generally starts from the final days of April to the early days of May. Friends start talking about their plans for the week during that time and many travel destinations are promoted during this period.
It is common for parents and grown-up children to live separately in Japan. It is the time of the year in which family members get together in their hometowns and respect their ancestors by visiting their graves. Domestic travel (especially the Shinkansen or bullet train) gets very expensive and crowded during this time.
While there is no law that requires businesses to shut down on national holidays, some businesses do close during the end-of-year holidays, so make sure to do your research beforehand! As we mentioned, Japanese people tend to travel overseas as well as domestically during these periods, so expect most leisure spots to be very crowded and roads to get congested. However, many places hold special events to attract more people, so it is worth to go on trips as locals do.
Provided by Karaksa Media Partner (17 April 2019)