Buddhism in Japan

Public Holidays

January 1 - 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.

Second Monday of January - 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.

February 11- 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.

March 21 - Spring Eqinox Day (shunbun no hi)
Graves are visited during the week (ohigan) of the Equinox Day.

April 29 - 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 - Constitution Day (kenpo kinenbi)
A national holiday remembering the new constitution, which was put into effect after the war.

May 4 - 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 - Children's Day (kodomo no hi)
Also called boy's festival.

Third Monday of July - 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.

July/August 13-15 - Obon
Obon is a festival to commemorate the deceased ancestors.

Third Monday of September - Respect for the Aged Day (keiro no hi)

Respect for the elderly and longlivity is celebrated on this national holiday.

September 23 - Autum Equinox Day (shubun no hi)
Graves are visited during the week (ohigan) of the Equinox Day.

Second Monday of October - Health and Sports Day (taiiku no hi)
On that day 1964, the Olympic games of Tokyo were opened.

November 3 - Culture Day (bunka no hi)
A day for promotion of culture and the love for freedom and peace. On the culture day, schools and the government award certain persons for their special, cultural activities.

November 23 - Labour Thanksgiving Day (kinro kansha no hi)
A national holiday for honoring labour.

December 23 - 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.

If a national holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will also be a holiday. If a day lies between two national holidays, the day will also be turned into a holiday.


  • Japan Guide