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Holidays In Japan

Japan has many holidays celebrating people, objects, and times.

There are two types of holidays in Japan:

  1. National holidays that are public holidays.
    • Most commercial activity shuts down.
    • Only required operatations (e.g. public services) stay open with necessary staff.
  2. Festivals of local and national level that are not considered public holidays.
    • Some shops might run reduced capacity, but most businesses stay open.

Two important (and official) rules for holidays:

  1. If the holiday is on a Sunday, the next day (Monday) will also be a Holiday. For example:
    • The Emperor's Birthday is on Sunday, December 23rd, 2007 but the Japanese will also have Monday the 24th as a holiday.
  2. If there is one day between two holidays, that day also becomes a holiday.


  • During national holidays, most exporters, dealers and all auction houses are closed.
  • Do not expect to do business during public holidays.
  • Plan in advance your schedule so don't waste your time waiting.

New Year's Day - January 1st
This is one of the two most important holidays in Japan. Most companies take off between December 29th and January 3rd. Many Japanese businesses also celebrate the closing of the year with office parties. Don't expect much work to be done between the 15th of December and 15th of January.

Coming of Age Day - 2nd Monday of January
This holiday celebrates the time when the young become adults (20 years old). Cities through-out the country celebrate this with special ceremonies.

National Foundation Day - February 11th
Ancient mythology suggest this is the day the first Japanese Emperor (Emperor Jimmu) came into power.

Vernal equinox - March 20th or 21st
Buddhist holiday celebrating the Spring day that shares equal time with its night. Japanese people usually celebrate this by visiting (and cleaning) their ancestors' graves.


Golden Week

The golden week is second most important holiday. The whole week is a festival and most people take off of work.

Showa Day - April 29th
This holiday is to celebrate the birth of the former Emperor.

Constitution Memorial Day - May 3rd
Celebrates the post-WW2 constitution of Japan.

Greenery Day - May 4th
Celebrates nature and its value.

Children's Day - May 5th
This holiday celebrate boys. It marks the end of the golden week.

Marine Day - 3rd Monday of July
Celebrates the ocean.

Respect for the Aged Day - 3rd Monday of September
This holiday celebrates people over 70 years old.

Autumnal Equinox - Around 23rd of August
Celebrates the Fall day that shares equal time with its night.

Health and Sports Day - 2nd Monday of October
A national holiday to promote healthiness.

Culture Day - November 3rd
Celebrates the adoption of the post-war constitution.

Labor Thanksgiving Day - November 23rd
This holiday celebrates laborers around Japan.

The Emperor's Birthday - Currently December 23rd
In Japan, the birthday of the current Emperor is a national holiday.


April 1st -
This is the beginning of a new school year. Many businesses begin their financial year here and also bring in new recruits at this time. Because of many changes within a company, thing tend not to operate the way they should.

Obon - August 13-15
Buddhist holiday which people visit their ancestors' graves. Not an offical national holiday, but most companies take off.

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