The following are Japanese national holidays and some of the most important other annual nationwide events. In addition, there are countless local annual festivals. Shops, restaurants and tourist attractions in Japan are generally open on national holidays, except on New Year.

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.

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.
  • 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):
    On this day, families with girls wish their daughters a successful and happy life. Dolls are displayed in the house together with peach blossoms.

  • 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. In 2020, this holiday is expected to be exceptionally moved to July 23 in order to create a prolonged holiday around the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • August 11 (national holiday)
    Mountain Day (yama no hi):
    Newly introduced in 2016, this national holiday celebrates mountains. In 2020, this holiday is expected to be exceptionally moved to August 10 in order to create a prolonged holiday around the closing ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • 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)
    Autumn 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. In 2020, this holiday is expected to be exceptionally moved to July 24 in order to create a prolonged holiday around the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • 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):
    Girls of age three and seven and boys of age three and five are celebrated on Shichigosan around November 15, and it is prayed for their good health and growth.
  • November 23 (national holiday)
    Labor 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. This is expected to happen after the current emperor's retirement in spring 2019. Consequently, there will be no Emperor's Birthday in 2019, and from 2020, the holiday will move the the new emperor's birthday on February 23.
  • December 24-25
    Christmas:
    Christmas is not a national holiday, but shopping malls are heavily decorated in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and many people follow some local Christmas traditions, such as eating chicken and a Christmas cake or having a dinner with one's partner.
  • December 31
    New Year's Eve (omisoka):
    December 31 is not a national holiday. More information is available on the New Year page.
Page last updated: April 7, 2018