Imagine this: You spend nearly a day of traveling to get to an island nation that is like no other. You arrive early in the morning and have your day planned out but it turns out everything is closed. How do you feel? Devastated, miserable, confused, or maybe angry? It turns out that Japan happens to have many national holidays (more than the US)!
When planning a trip to Japan, it's important to know about their national holidays since many places (even some supermarkets) will be closed for the day. Keep reading to find out the list for 2020! Also keep in mind that these are only National Holidays. There are many other holidays that are recognized throughout Japan, however you may not get a day off (like Halloween, and Valentines Day).
1st January: New Year’s Day (Gantan).
Many countries have their own New Year’s celebration and Japan is no exception. New Year’s is the biggest holiday in Japan and it is considered to last until the 3rd, however a lot of businesses re-open on the 4th or 5th January.
2nd – 3rd January: Official New Year holiday for banks.
This day is kinda risky as all post offices and government institutions will be closed including ATM machines being out of service. Prepare your cash in advance if you plan on being around during this time.
13th January: Coming of Age Day (Seijin no Hi).
In Japan, 20 years old is considered the age where you become an adult. Young people who turn 20 on each year are celebrated in the Coming of Age ceremony, which you can find out more here.
11th February: National Foundation Day (Kenkoku Kinen no Hi).
24th February: Emperor's Birthday (Tennō tanjōbi).
20th March: Spring Equinox (Shunbun no hi).
It may seem weird to have a day off just for the equinox, however no one is complaining about having extra free time.
End of April – Early May: Golden Week.
Usually in April there is a national holiday called Golden Week, it's time for all Japanese workers get about a week off around the end of April and beginning of May. Usually foreigners will want to avoid traveling to Japan at this time since so many Japanese will be traveling themselves.
29th April: Showa Day (Showa no Hi).
3rd May: Constitution Day (Kenpo kinenbi).
4th May: Greenery Day (Midori no Hi).
5th May: Childrens’ Day (Boys’ Day) (Kodomo no Hi).
6th May: Constitution Day (Kenpo kinenbi).
23rd July: Marine Day (Umi no Hi).
24th July: Sports Day (Taiku no Hi).
Typically this is held in October. Many Japanese will often hold their annual sports festivals around this time, like those you may have seen in anime. However, in 2020, Sports Day will be moved to July to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics.
10th August: Mountain Day (Yama no Hi).
13th-15th August: Obon (Festival of Souls).
This isnt an official national holiday, however many offices and public facilities are closed in celebration particularly in Tokyo.
21st September: Respect for the Aged Day (Keiro no Hi).
22nd September: Autumn Equinox (Shuubun no Hi).
3 November: Culture Day (Bunka no Hi).
23 November: Labour Thanksgiving Day (Kinro Kansha no Hi).
Not to be confused with Thanksgiving back in the United States, this holiday simply gives thanks to workers with an extra day off. Turkey Feasts are optional.
31 December New Years Eve (Omisoka).
New Year’s celebrations begin December 31st and last up to the first week in January. Millions of Japanese travel across the country at this time to be with their families so its ill-advised for foreigners to visit during this time unless you come a few weeks in advance.
Although the list above already gives you a lot of Japan National Holiday list, each year can be slightly different and you still need to check further to make sure, and please note even it’s holiday some shops (usually food and retail only) will still be open normally!
We can say all the national holiday in Japan look so unique and rich with culture, if you want us to discuss a particular event please let us know in the comments below.