National Holidays in Japan
Japan has 16 national holidays, with at least one holiday every month except June. The following are the Japanese national holidays for 2017 and 2018.
When a national holiday falls on a Sunday, the next day, Monday, becomes a holiday (a "compensatory holiday" or furikae kyujitsu). If a holiday falls on a Saturday, well ... better luck next year!
For a more detailed list of all notable festive days in the Japanese calendar, see Japanese Public Holidays and Festivals.
New Year's Day (Ganjitsu 元日)
New Year's Day in Japan is traditionally a family affair that starts the evening before with watching Kohaku on TV and visiting a shrine on New Year's eve, and, on the day itself, is spent at home with the family enjoying special New Year food and drink.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Monday, January 1, 2018
Coming of Age Day (Seijin no Hi 成人の日)
Coming of age, i.e., achieving adulthood, happens at age 20 in Japan. Coming of Age Day is an intensely social day for 20 year olds marked by dressing traditionally, group outings and parties. Held on the second Monday of January.
Monday, January 9, 2017
Monday, January 8, 2018
Foundation Day (Kenkoku Kinen no Hi 建国記念の日)
Foundation Day celebrates the founding of the nation of Japan and is traditionally a day for expressions of patriotism.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Sunday, February 11, 2018
New Emperor's Birthday (Tenno no Tanjobi 天皇の誕生日)
The New Emperor's Birthday holiday is to begin in 2018 with the planned accession of Crown Prince Naruhito to the throne once his father, Emperor Akihito, has abdicated (due to happen soon).
Friday, February 23, 2018
Spring Equinox Day (Shunbun no Hi 春分の日)
Spring Equinox Day welcomes the coming of spring and was established for the appreciation of nature. The date of Spring Equinox Day is not officially set. It is the task of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan to calculate and announce the date in February of the year before. However, in practice, Spring Equinox Day falls on March 21, except in a leap year and the year following a leap year, when it is on March 20.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
The four consecutive national holidays in April and May form Golden Week, when companies close for the first week of May and millions of Japanese go traveling.
Showa Day (Showa no Hi 昭和の日)
Showa Day is the first day of the Golden Week run of holidays, in honor of the late Emperor Hirohito (1901-89), who is known as the Emperor Showa in Japan.
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Monday, April 30, 2018 (compensatory holiday for Sunday, April 29)
Constitution Day (Kempo Kinenbi 憲法記念日)
Constitution Day celebrates the ancient founding of Japan as a nation and is traditionally a day for expressing patriotism. A Golden Week holiday.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Green Day (Midori no Hi みどりの日)
Green Day is a day to appreciate nature. A Golden Week holiday.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Friday, May 4, 2018
Children's Day (Kodomo no Hi 子供の日)
Children's Day is traditionally more for boys than girls, and is celebrated by flying koinobori carp kites. The last day of Golden Week.
Friday, May 5, 2017
Saturday, May 5, 2018
Ocean Day / Marine Day (Umi no Hi 海の日)
Ocean Day, or Marine Day, is for the appreciation of the ocean and its bounty, held on the third Monday of July.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Monday, July 16, 2018
Mountain Day (Yama no Hi 山の日)
Mountain Day was created to coincide with the mid-August O-Bon Festival, when Japanese traditionally return to the family home to venerate their ancestors.
Friday, August 11, 2017
Saturday, August 11, 2018
Respect for the Aged Day (Keiro no Hi 敬老の日)
Respect for the Aged Day is a nod to those with experience. Held on the third Monday of September.
Monday, September 18, 2017
Monday, September 17, 2018
Autumn Equinox Day (Shuubun no Hi 秋分の日)
Autumn Equinox Day marks the beginning of fall, and, carrying on the O-Bon and Respect for the Aged Day theme, a day for venerating those who have gone on before. As with Spring Equinox Day, the date of Autumn Equinox Day is not officially set, but it is the task of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan to calculate and announce the date in February of the year before. But current calculations predict that, until 2044, Autumn Equinox Day will fall on September 22 in leap years and September 23 in common years.
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Monday, September 24, 2018 (compensatory holiday for Sunday, September 23)
Health and Sports Day (Taiiku no Hi 体育の日)
Health and Sports Day celebrates health, sport and everything physically vibrant. Held on the second Monday of October.
Monday, October 9, 2017
Monday, October 8, 2018
Culture Day (Bunka no Hi 文化の日)
Culture Day is about promoting cultural pursuits. It originally commemorated the establishment of Japan's Constitution in 1946, which now has its own day.
Friday, November 3, 2017
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Labor Appreciation Day (Kinro Kansha no Hi 勤労感謝の日)
Labor Appreciation Day used to be a harvest festival, but is now a day for celebrating work and production in general.
Thursday, November 23, 2017
Friday, November 23, 2018
Emperor's Birthday (Tenno no Tanjobi 天皇の誕生日)
Emperor's Birthday celebrates the birth of the current Emperor. Upon his upcoming abdication, the new Emperor's birthday of February 23 will be celebrated as a new holiday, but December 23 will probably remain as the "Old Emperor's Birthday".
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Monday, December 24, 2018 (compensatory holiday for Sunday, December 23)