Business hours in Japan usually are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm; nevertheless private companies often close their doors much later in the evening and may also open on Saturday mornings. Department stores and bigger shops open their doors around 10am and close the attention around 7pm or 8pm, with no break for lunch. Local shops, nevertheless, will be open some hours more, while many convenience stores are open 24 hours. Almost all shops will keep one day off a week, not necessarily on a Sunday.
Banks open to the public on weekdays from 9am to 3pm, and close on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays. Post offices open their doors around 9am to 5pm on weekdays, closing at weekends and also on national holidays, though a few open on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm. Central post offices, for other side, be open until 7pm in the evening, open on Saturdays from 9am to 5pm and on Sundays and holidays from 9am to 12.30pm. Other offices tend to operate an after-hours service for parcels and express mail, sometimes up to 24 hours at major post offices.
Most museums close their doors on a Monday, they are opening on Sunday and national holidays; last ingress is usually thirty minutes before closing. There's almost always an admission rate to museums and other tourist sights. In the Guide we give the cost of an adult entry ticket; school-age children and students generally obtain reduced rates, which may be up to half the adult price.
Almost all museums and department stores keep opening on national holidays; they generally take the following day off instead. Nevertheless, during the New Year festival (January 1-4), Golden Week (April 29-May 5) and Obon (the week around August 15), almost all museums shuts down. During this time every way of transport and accommodation will be booked out weeks in advance, and all major tourist spots will be besieged.
In this country, there are several local festivals (matsuri) because almost every shrine celebrates its own one. Almost all festivals are expected each year and celebrate the shrine's deity or a seasonal or historical event. Some festivals are help over several days.
An important component of Japanese festivals is its processions, in which the local shrine's kami (Shinto deity) is moved by way of the town in mikoshi (palanquins). It's the only period of the year when the kami leaves the shrine to be carried around town.
Several festivals also offer decorated floats (dashi), which are pulled through the town, with accompaniment of drum and flute music by the people sitting on the floats. Every festival has its own features. While some festivals are serene and meditative, many of them are energetic and tumultuous.
The following are Japanese national holidays and some of the most important other annual nationwide events. In addition, there are countless local annual festivals.
Japanese New Year is known as Oshogatsu. Japan has assumed the solar calendar since the year 1873 and the New Year celebration begins on January 1. However, in rural Japan, villagers continue to follow the lunar calendar and Oshogatsu is the Lunar New Year.
The New Year celebration lasts for 5 to 6 days. All pertaining to the New Year is emblematic of "firsts" of the New Year. Thus, the New Year offers a sense of renewal. On New Year's Eve, some minutes before of midnight, Buddhist temples ring bells 108 times to commemorate Japan's hardships. The ritual is a way to send out the old year and usher in the new.
Oshogatsu is a moment for peace and resolution. Japanese people don't work on New Year's Day. This day is for celebrating with the family. They visit the temples to implore for a prosperous and healthy new year. The first visit to the temple is known as "Hatsu Mohde," which means the first visit.