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Japanese National Holiday List

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Whether you live in Japan or are just visiting, its handy to know when the national holidays are so we’ve compiled a list for you here. There are 15 designated national holidays when schools, government offices and many businesses close. These dates appear in red print on a Japanese calendar, as do Sundays.

Happy Monday Holidays

Any holiday is a happy day but those on a Monday mean you get to enjoy a long weekend so that’s why we call them ‘Happy Mondays’! There are four designated Monday holidays.

Second Monday in January: Coming-of- Age Day
Third Monday in July: Marine Day
Third Monday in September: Respect for the Aged Day
Second Monday in October: Sports Day

Spring Golden Week Holiday

The Golden week holiday comprises of several national holidays grouped together at the end of April and beginning of May. If a weekend happens to land on either side then you may have 5 consecutive holidays!

29th April: Showa Day (The birthday of the late Showa Emperor)
3rd May: Constitution Day
4th May: Greenery Day
5th May: Children’s Day

Coming only a month after the beginning of the new school year, as well as the financial year, Golden week is a welcome rest for those who need relief from the tension acquired at the beginning of a new term or new job. However, there’s an expression “the May blues” which many new college students and new employees experience after the end of Golden Week, so beware!

Other National Holidays

1st January: New Year’s Day
11th February:
National Foundation Day
Around 20th March (varies each year):
Spring Equinox
Around 23rd September (varies each year):
Autumn Equinox
3rd November:
Culture Day
23rd November:
Labour Thanksgiving Day
23rd December:
Emperor’s Birthday

So take note and don’t go to work or school on these days!

Other Holidays

Schools have three long holidays which may vary slightly from school to school. In general summer vacation lasts about six weeks, starting in mid July until the end of August. Winter vacation is approximately two weeks, covering the last week of December and the first week of January, and spring vacation is also about two weeks from mid March until the beginning of April. Universities also have three main holidays which can vary greatly from one establishment to another. Many businesses also close for one or two days over New Year and at the Obon festival in mid August (around August 15th).

Most shops (except small family-run shops) and tourist sites are open over these holidays. However, it’s always best to check before you travel just in case the particular site you want to visit is closed for the season! Also be prepared for larger-than-usual crowds at these times and book early.

2016 National Holidays

1st January:       New Year’s Day
11th January:    Coming-of- Age Day
11th February:   National Foundation Day
21st March:        Spring Equinox
29th April:          Showa Day
3rd May:             Constitution Day
4th May:             Greenery Day
5th May:             Children’s Day
18th July:            Marine Day
11th August:       Mountain Day
19th September: Respect for the Aged Day
22nd September: Autumn Equinox
10th October: Sports Day
3rd November: Culture Day
23rd November: Labour Thanks giving Day
23rd December: Emperor’s Birthday

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