• Shiori W

The 16 National Holidays in Japan and Golden week!

How many national holidays are there in Japan?

In Japan, people generally work five-day work weeks if they are full time workers and have six to eight days off a month. Would you feel tired if you had to work five days every week every year? Today, I will talk about National holidays in Japan and the "Golden Week"!

In the Japanese calendar, there are 16 national holidays which are defined by the Public Holiday Act.

This makes Japan one of the countries that are tied for the third most holidays in the world. It ranks next to India and Columbia and has the same number of holidays as Thailand, Lebanon, and South Korea.

The World Ranking by Country (Number of National Holidays)

1st India and Columbia (18)
3rd Thailand, Lebanon, South Korea and Japan (16)

Referenced : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/maps-and-graphics/mapped-the-countries-that-have-the-most-bank-holidays/

The list of National Holidays in Japan

( defined by “Public Holiday Law”)

1. Ganjitsu (元日) on January,1st - New Year’s Day

2. Seijin no hi (成人の日) on January 2nd Monday -Coming of Age Day

3. Kenkoku Kinen no hi (建国記念の日), on February 11th - National Foundation Day *On the law, it says that the date will be set by the government.

The date of foundation is not clear. Based on old historical books such as the “Kojiki 古事記” or “Nihonshoki 日本書紀”, this date is when the first emperor “Jinmu-tennou” acceded the throne. After1966, the cabinet under Prime minister, Eisaku Sato announced that this holiday would be set to February 11th.

4. Tenno Tanjoubi (天皇誕生日) on February 23rd

- The birthday of the current Emperor

5. Shunbun no hi (春分の日), the date often falls on March 20th or 21st.

- Vernal Equinox Day

A day for the admiration and love of living creatures. The date for this holiday set based on the booklet “Calendar and Ephemeris” created by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan every year.

6. Showa no hi (昭和の日) on April 29th - Showa Day

A holiday to reflect on the events of the Showa era that saw an era of revitalization, that followed a turbulent period of time in Japan, and to think about the future of Japan. This holiday was created in 2007.

7. Kenpou Kinenbi (憲法記念日), on May 3rd - Constitution Memorial Day A day to commemorate the enactment of the current Japanese constitution and to look forward to the continued growth of Japan.

8. Midori no hi (みどりの日) on May 4th - Greenery Day

A day to enjoy nature and to be thankful towards everything that nature blesses us with. It is also a day to encourage having a rich thoughtful mind.

9. Kodomo no hi (子供の日) on May 5th - Children’s Day

A holiday created to esteem the character of children and to think about their happiness while being thankful towards mothers.

10. Umi no hi (海の日) on July 3rd Monday - Marine Day

A day to appreciate the blessings of the sea and to hope for the prosperity of the maritime nation of Japan.

11. Yama no hi (山の日) on August 11th - Mountain Day

A day to appreciate the mountains in Japan and everything they bless the nation with.

12. Keirou no hi (敬老の日) on September 3rd Monday - Respect for the Aged Day

A day to love and respect those who have devoted themselves to society for many years and to celebrate long life.

13. Shunbun no hi (秋分の日). The date often falls on September 22nd or 23rd.

- Autumnal Equinox Day on

A day to honor one’s ancestors and to remember loved ones who have passed away.

14. Sport no hi (スポーツの日) on October 2nd Monday - Health and Sports Day

A day to enjoy sports and to nurture a healthy mind and body.

15. Bunka no hi (文化の日) on November 3rd - Culture Day

A day to love freedom and peace and to further culture.

16. Kinrou kansha no hi (勤労感謝の日) on November 23rd

- Labour Thanksgiving Day

A day to praise labour, celebrate production, and to be thankful towards the country’s citizens.



In the first version of the Public Holiday Law, enacted in 1948, there were only eleven holidays but this number increased to sixteen days in 2014.

In addition to these 16 official national holidays, many Japanese companies give a few days off during a period of time from August 13th to 15th called “Obon-yasumi お盆休み”. This time is used to visit relatives and to pay respects at the graves of ancestors. Companies also usually give three days off around the New Year, usually December 31st, January 2nd, and January 3rd.

How about Christmas holidays and Lunar New Year in Japan??

Japan doesn’t count Christmas as a public holiday so if you are used to having that day off and celebrating with your family, you may want to arrange for time off on that day. Similarly, the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated in other parts of Asia as a public holiday, is not a public holiday in Japan.

Here is another week holiday called "Golden week"!

Besides new year's holidays and obon holidays, golden week is the busiest holiday season in Japan.

Golden week is combined the holidays from Showa no hi on April 29th to Kodomo no hi on May 5th also well placed on weekends.

Many Japanese people will take paid time off adding to golden week.

Almost everywhere in Japan gets crowded during golden week. I recommend you to booking hotels, trains, airports and places on your plan in advance.

In Japan, in general, it is a nice weather on May. You see sunshine much more than winters and feel nice breeze. It's good time to explore your adventures in Japan! I personally like to go to mountains in golden week so that I can walk along small rivers and sit down in front of the view that mountains stand up to the sky. When the coronavirus pandemic gets calm down, please try to go out and enjoy your days in Japan!

Hope you find a new tip in Japan. See you later!