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
December 30 No
December 31 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.

End-of-Year Holidays

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.

Golden Week

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.

Silver Week

Whether Silver Week is a mere two to three-day-holiday or a long holiday changes every year. By this time, the heat of summer should have dissipated,making it the perfect weather for outdoor leisure.

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)

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