Annual events

The following are Japanese national holidays and some of the most important other annual nationwide events. In addition, there are countless local annual festivals.

If a national holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is also turned into a holiday. Likewise, a day sandwiched between two national holidays is turned into a holiday.

Shops, restaurants and tourist attractions in Japan are generally open on national holidays, except on New Year.

Please consult our event calendar for exact dates.

  • January 1 (national holiday)
    New Year (shogatsu):
    This is the most important holiday in Japan. While only January 1 is designated as a national holiday, many businesses remain closed through January 3. More information is available on the New Year page.
  • 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. More information is available on the Coming of Age page.
  • February 3
    Beginning of spring (setsubun):
    Setsubun is not a national holiday, but celebrated at shrines and temples nationwide. More information is available on the Setsubun page.
  • 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. More information is available on the Valentine's Day page.
  • March 3
    Doll's Festival (hina matsuri):
    Also called girl's festival. More information is available on the Doll's Festival page.
  • March 14
    White Day:
    The opposite of Valentine's Day: Men give cakes or chocolates to women. It is not a national holiday. More information is available on the White Day page.
  • Around March 20 (national holiday)
    Spring Equinox 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. More information is available on the Golden Week page.
  • 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. More information is available on the Golden Week page.
  • July/August 7
    Star Festival (tanabata):
    Tanabata is a festival rather than a national holiday. More information is available on the Tanabata page.
  • 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.
  • August 11 (national holiday)
    Mountain Day (yama no hi):
    Newly introduced in 2016, this national holiday celebrates mountains.
  • July/August 13-15
    Obon:
    Obon is a Buddhist event to commemorate deceased ancestors. More information is available on the Obon page.
  • Third Monday of September (national holiday)
    Respect for the Aged Day (keiro no hi):
    Respect for the elderly and longevity are 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 in 1964, the Olympic games of Tokyo were opened.
  • November 3 (national holiday)
    Culture Day (bunka no hi):
    A day for promotion of culture and the love of freedom and peace. On culture day, schools and the government award selected persons for their special, cultural achievements.
  • November 15
    Seven-Five-Three (shichigosan):
    A festival for children, Shichigosan is not a national holiday. More information is available on the Shichigosan page.
  • 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 current 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:
    Christmas is not a national holiday, but it is celebrated by an increasing number of Japanese. More information is available on the Christmas page.
  • December 31
    New Year's Eve (omisoka):
    December 31 is not a national holiday. More information is available on the New Year page.
Last updated: May 3, 2014
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