In this article, you will find Japanese national holidays and some of the most important annual national events. The annual festivals are also listed here.
As with us, if a national holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is also considered a holiday. Similarly, a day that falls between two national holidays becomes a weekend.
Shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions in Japan are generally open on national holidays other than New Year’s Eve.
Japan holidays in January.
January 1 (national holiday) – New Year (shogatsu). This is the most important holiday in Japan. Although only January 1 is designated a national holiday, many businesses remain closed until January 3.
The second Monday in January (national holiday) is the Day of Coming of Age in Japan (seijin no hi). This holiday is dedicated to those Japanese men and women who have recently entered adulthood (who are 20 years old) and have become a full member of society.
Japanese holidays in February.
February 3-The beginning of spring (Setsubun). Setsubun is not a national holiday, but is celebrated in temples across the country.
February 11 (national holiday) – The Day of the foundation of the state (kenkoku kinenbi). According to the oldest Japanese chronicles, the first Japanese emperor was crowned on this day in 660 BC. February
14 – Valentine’s Day. In Japan, women give chocolate to men on Valentine’s Day. This is not a national holiday, but borrowed from Western countries.
Japanese holidays in March.
March 3-Girls ‘ Festival or Doll Festival (hina matsuri) . On this day, families with girls wish their daughters a successful and happy life. Dolls are displayed in the house in a prominent place along with peach flowers.
March 14-White Day . The opposite of Valentine’s Day: men give cakes or chocolate to women. This is not a national holiday.
March 20 or 21 (national holiday) – The day of the Spring equinox (shunbun no hi) . During the week (ohigan — 3 days before and 3 days after the spring equinox), it is customary to visit the graves of deceased relatives.
Japanese holidays in April.
April 29-May 5-Golden Week . Along with the New Year and Obon, Golden Week is one of the main holidays in Japan, as it includes four public holidays during the week (Sowing Day, Constitution Day, Greenery Day, Children’s Day).
April 29 (National holiday) – Showa Day (Showa no hi) . The birthday of the previous Emperor Showa, who died in 1989. Until 2007, April 29 was known as Green Day (now celebrated on May 4). The day of Sowing is part of the Golden Week.
Japanese holidays in May.
May 3 (national holiday) – Constitution Day (Kenpo kinenbi). The national holiday marks the anniversary of the adoption of the new constitution, which was adopted after the Second World War on May 3, 1947.
May 4 (national holiday) – Green Day (Day of Spring awakening of Nature) (midori no hi). Until 2006, Green Day was celebrated on April 29, the birthday of Emperor Seva, due to the Emperor’s love of plants and nature.
May 5 (national holiday) – Boys ‘ Day or Children’s Day (kodomo no hi) .
May 13-Mother’s Day . On this day, many children buy flowers for their mother. According to Japanese flower meanings, red carnations are considered the best gift for mom. In schools across Japan, children draw pictures of their mother on this day.
Japanese holidays in June.
There are no holidays in Japan in June, as it is the rainy season and the wedding season.
Japanese holidays in July.
July 7-Star Festival (tanabata). Tanabata is a traditional Japanese holiday, not a public holiday.
Third Monday of July (National holiday) – Sea Day (umi no hi) . A newly introduced national holiday. This day marks the return of Emperor Meiji from a boat trip to Hokkaido in 1876.
Japanese holidays in August.
August 11 (National holiday) – Mountain Day (yama no hi) . Introduced in 2016, this national holiday is dedicated to the mountains.
August 13-15-Obon . This is a Buddhist event dedicated to deceased ancestors.
Japanese holidays in September.
The third Monday of September (national holiday) is a day of Veneration for the Elderly (keiro no hi) . On this national holiday, it is customary to show respect for the elderly and longevity. The holiday appeared in 1966.
September 23 (National holiday) – Autumn Equinox Day (shubun-no-hi) . During the week (ohigan), it is customary to visit the graves of deceased relatives.
Japan’s holidays in October.
Second Monday in October (national holiday) – Health and Sports Day (taiiku no hi) . On that day in 1964, the Olympic Games opened in Tokyo.
October 31-Halloween . In recent years, the popularity of Halloween in Japan has increased dramatically. In Tokyo, an informal gathering of people in suits takes place in the Shibuya area.
Japanese holidays in November.
November 3 (national holiday) – Day of Culture (bunka no hi) . Day of promotion of Culture and love for Freedom and peace. On the Day of Culture, schools and other state institutions award selected individuals for their special cultural achievements.
November 15-Seven-five-three (shichi-go-san). It is a celebration for girls aged three and seven, as well as boys aged three to five. On this day, children dressed in special kimonos go with their parents to the temple, where they pray for their good health.
November 23 (National Holiday) – Thanksgiving for Labor (Labor Day) (Kinro kansha no hi) . National Labor Day Celebration.
Japanese holidays in December.
December 23 (national holiday) – The Emperor’s birthday (tenno no tanjobi) . The birthday of the current Emperor Akihito is a national holiday. When the emperor changes, the national holiday will change to the new emperor’s birthday.
December 24-25-Christmas . Christmas is not a national holiday in Japan, but shopping malls and streets are decorated the week before Christmas. Many Japanese people follow Christmas traditions, such as Christmas cake and Christmas dinner.
December 31-New Year’s Eve (omisoka). It is not a national holiday.