【1 January - New Year’s Day】
Family members gather to celebrate the start of the New Year.
【Second Monday of January - Coming-of-Age Day】
Men and women who have turned 20 in the past 12 months celebrate coming of age.
【11 Feburary - National Foundation Day】
The day commemorating the coronation of the first Emperor Jimmu. This is the day people show their appreciation for the foundation of the country.
【20 or 21 March - Vernal Equinox Day】
Families gather and/or visit their ancestors’ graves.
【29 April - Showa Day】
Originally this day was the birthday of Hirohito, Emperor of Showa.
【3 May - Constitution Memorial Day】
The day commemorating Japan’s constitution, which became effective in 1947.
【4 May - Greenery Day】
This day is the day people appreciate the blessings of the nature and think about the environment.
【5 May - Children’s Day】
The nation prays for the health and happiness of children.
【Third Monday of July - Maritime Day】
This is the day people appreciate the blessings of the ocean and hope for the good life.
【Third Monday of September - Respect-for-the-Aged Day】
This is the day to honor senior citizens and celebrate their longevity.
【22 or 23 September - Autumnal Equinox Day】
This is the day people honor their ancestors. Families gather and/or visit their ancestors’ graves.
【Second Monday of October - Health-Sports Day】
On this day we take part in athletic events for good health.
【3 November - Culture Day】
Originally the constitution was issued on this day; now it is a day for enhancing cultural awareness and love for freedom and peace.
【23 November - Labor Thanksgiving Day】
Originally, this was the day on which we thanked the Shinto gods for an ample harvest. Today, people express their gratitude to each other for their daily labor and give thanks to production.
【23 December - The Emperor’s Birthday】
The day on which the nation celebrates the birthday of the current Emperor of Heisei, Akihito.
Golden Week is a grouping of four national holidays. It is between the 29th of April and the 5th of May. Like at the New Year’s holiday, many people go on vacation, and all business activities slow down during Golden Week.
Happy Monday is when a holiday is moved to Monday to make a three-day weekend. In the past, all national holidays had designated dates. Then some national holidays were moved to the nearest Monday. The law changed again in 2000 and 2003, and now Coming-of- Age Day, Maritime Day, Respect-for-the-Aged Day, and Health-Sports Day fall on certain Mondays.