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Japan Travel Guide

Japan Opening Hours: National Holidays

The following are Japanese national holidays and some of the most important other annual nationwide events. In addition, there are countless local annual festivals. Below follows an incomplete list of some of Japan's most famous festivals:

  • January 1 (national holiday)
    New Year (shogatsu):
    This is the most famous and important holiday in Japan. While only January 1 is designated as a national holiday, many businesses remain closed through January 3.

  • Second Monday of January (national holiday)
    Coming of Age (seijin no hi):
    The coming of age of 20 year old men and women is celebrated on this national holiday.

  • February 3 Beginning of spring (setsubun):
    Setsubun is not a national holiday, but celebrated at shrines and temples nationwide.

  • February 11 (national holiday)
    National Foundation Day (kenkoku kinenbi):
    According to the earliest Japanese history records, on this day in the year 660 BC the first Japanese emperor was crowned.

  • February 14
    Valentine's Day:
    In Japan, women give chocolates to men on Valentine's Day. It is not a national holiday.

  • March 3
    Doll's Festival (hina matsuri):
    Also known as girl's festival.

  • March 14
    White Day:
    The opposite of Valentine's Day: Men give cakes or chocolates to women. It is not a national holiday.

  • Around March 20 (national holiday)
    Spring Eqinox Day (shunbun no hi):
    Graves are visited during the week (ohigan) of the Equinox Day.

  • April 29 (national holiday)
    Showa Day (Showa no hi):
    The birthday of former Emperor Showa. Before 2007, April 29 was known as Greenery Day (now celebrated on May 4). Showa Day is part of the Golden Week.

  • May 3 (national holiday)
    Constitution Day (kenpo kinenbi):
    A national holiday remembering the new constitution, which was put into effect after the war. Please visit our Golden Week page for more information.

  • May 4 (national holiday)
    Greenery Day (midori no hi):
    Until 2006, Greenery Day was celebrated on April 29, the former Emperor Showa's birthday, due to the emperor's love for plants and nature. It is now celebrated on May 4 and is part of the Golden Week.

  • May 5 (national holiday)
    Children's Day (kodomo no hi):
    Also called boy's festival.

  • July/August 7
    Star Festival (tanabata):
    Tanabata is a festival rather than a national holiday.

  • Third Monday of July (national holiday)
    Ocean Day (umi no hi): A recently introduced national holiday to celebrate the ocean. The day marks the return of Emperor Meiji from a boat trip to Hokkaido in 1876.

  • July/August 13-15
    Obon is a festival to commemorate the deceased ancestors.

  • Third Monday of September (national holiday)
    Respect for the Aged Day (keiro no hi):
    Respect for the elderly and longlivity is celebrated on this national holiday.

  • Around September 23 (national holiday)
    Autum Equinox Day (shubun no hi):
    Graves are visited during the week (ohigan) of the Equinox Day.

  • Second Monday of October (national holiday)
    Health and Sports Day (taiiku no hi):
    On that day 1964, the Olympic games of Tokyo were opened.

  • November 3 (national holiday)
    Culture Day (bunka no hi):
    A special day for promotion of culture and the love for freedom and peace. On the culture day, schools and the government award certain persons for their special, cultural activities.

  • November 15
    Seven-Five-Three (shichigosan):
    A festival for children, Shichigosan is not a national holiday.

  • November 23 (national holiday)
    Labour Thanksgiving Day (kinro kansha no hi):
    A national holiday for honoring labour.

  • December 23 (national holiday)
    Emperor's Birthday (tenno no tanjobi):
    The birthday of the actual emperor is always a national holiday. If the emperor changes, the national holiday changes to the birthday date of the new emperor.

  • December 24-25
    Christmas is not a national holiday, but it is celebrated by an increasing number of Japanese.

  • December 31
    New Year's Eve (omisoka):
    December 31 is not a national holiday.
If a national holiday takes on a Sunday, the following Monday will also be a holiday. If a day lies among two national holidays, the day will also be turned into a holiday.

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