JAPANESE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Below is a list of the 2022 Japanese National Holidays.

Further down, we will also talk about how the Japanese Public Holidays’ significance and how they are celebrated.

There is also a list of the 2023 Japanese National Holidays.

Throughout the page we’ve also created a number of images (including the one you can see here) that you can download, share and save.

Let’s learn about the Japanese National Holidays in more detail now!

First up, the dates for 2022.

Japanese Holidays | Japanese Holidays in 2022

Japanese Holidays | Japanese Holidays in 2023

Japanese Holidays | How Does Japan Celebrate Holidays?

Japanese Holidays | FAQ’s

Japanese National Holidays

JAPANESE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS 2022

Japan has a large number of public holidays. Here is a full list of them from the start of the calendar year.

DatesHolidayJapanese NameRomaji Name
January 1st, 2022New Year’s Day元日Ganjitsu
January 10th, 2022Coming of Age Day成人の日Seijin no Hi
February 11th, 2022National Foundation Day建国記念の日Kenkoku Kinen no Hi
February 23rd, 2022The Emperor’s Birthday天皇誕生日Tenno Tanjobi
March 21st, 2022Vernal Equinox Day春分の日Shunbun no Hi
April 29th, 2022Showa Day (Golden Week)昭和の日Showa no Hi
May 3rd, 2022Constitution Memorial Day (Golden Week)憲法記念日Kenpo Kinenbi
May 4th, 2022Greenery Day (Golden Week)みどりの日Midori no Hi
May 5th, 2022Children’s Day (Golden Week)こどもの日Kodomo no Hi
July 18th, 2022Marine Day海の日Umi no Hi
August 11th, 2022Mountain Day山の日Yama no Hi
September 19th, 2022Respect for the Aged Day敬老の日Keiro no Hi
September 23rd, 2022Autumnal Equinox Day秋分の日Shubun no Hi
November 3rd, 2022Culture Day文化の日Bunka no Hi
November 23rd, 2022Labor Thanksgiving Day勤労感謝の日Kinro Kansha no Hi

Other Holidays and Observed Dates in 2022

There are also a number of other holidays that Japan celebrates. These aren’t officially recognised as national holidays, but nonetheless, are celebrated across Japan.

DatesHolidayJapanese NameRomaji Name
February 3rd, 2022Beginning of Spring節分Setsubun
February 14th, 2022Valentine’s DayバレンタインデーBarentinesu De
March 3rd, 2022Doll’s Festival雛祭りHinamatsuri
March 14th, 2022White DayホワイトデーHowaito De
July/August 7th, 2022 (varies by region)Star Festival七夕・星祭りTanabata/Hoshimatsuri
July/August 13th-15th, 2022 (varies by region)Obonお盆Obon
December 24th-25th, 2022ChristmasクリスマスKurisumasu
December 31st, 2022New Year’s Eve大晦日Omisoka

JAPANESE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS 2023

DatesHolidayJapanese NameRomaji Name
January 1st, 2023New Year’s Day元日Ganjitsu
January 9th, 2023Coming of Age Day成人の日Seijin no Hi
February 11th, 2023National Foundation Day建国記念の日Kenkoku Kinen no Hi
February 23rd, 2023The Emperor’s Birthday天皇誕生日Tenno Tanjobi
March 21st, 2023Vernal Equinox Day春分の日Shunbun no Hi
April 29th, 2023Showa Day (Golden Week)昭和の日Showa no Hi
May 3rd, 2023Constitution Memorial Day (Golden Week)憲法記念日Kenpo Kinenbi
May 4th, 2023Greenery Day (Golden Week)みどりの日Midori no Hi
May 5th, 2023Children’s Day (Golden Week)こどもの日Kodomo no Hi
July 17th, 2023Marine Day海の日Umi no Hi
August 11th, 2023Mountain Day山の日Yama no Hi
September 18th, 2023Respect for the Aged Day敬老の日Keiro no Hi
September 23rd, 2023Autumnal Equinox Day秋分の日Shubun no Hi
November 3rd, 2023Culture Day文化の日Bunka no Hi
November 23rd, 2023Labor Thanksgiving Day勤労感謝の日Kinro Kansha no Hi

Other Holidays and Observed Dates in 2023

DatesHolidayJapanese NameRomaji Name
February 3rd, 2023Beginning of Spring節分Setsubun
February 14th, 2023Valentine’s DayバレンタインデーBarentinesu De
March 3rd, 2023Doll’s Festival雛祭りHinamatsuri
March 14th, 2023White DayホワイトデーHowaito De
July/August 7th, 2023 (varies by region)Star Festival七夕・星祭りTanabata/Hoshimatsuri
July/August 13th-15th, 2023 (varies by region)Obonお盆Obon
December 24th-25th, 2023ChristmasクリスマスKurisumasu
December 31st, 2023New Year’s Eve大晦日Omisoka
Learn why bowing is so important in Japanese culture
Whilst we are learning dates, it makes sense to learn the Japanese numbers

HOW DOES JAPAN CELEBRATE HOLIDAYS?

Here’s a quick rundown on how Japanese people celebrate the big days in the calendar. We will also take a look at how Christmas is celebrated in Japan.

New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day is officially known as 元日 (がんじつ ganjitsu).

The celebrations on New Year’s Day are commonly referred to as 正月(しょうがつ shogatsu).

On this day, people typically dress up and go with families or friends to visit shrines to make wishes for the upcoming year.

These wishes include good health, passing exams, and luck in love.

At the shrines, people will also draw fortunes which are said to determine their luck for the upcoming year, ranging from very bad to very good.

If you draw a bad or very bad luck fortune, you can tie it to a tree branch, which is said to ward away the bad luck.

Japanese National Holidays

Coming of Age Day

Coming of Age Day, celebrated at the start of January, is the day where children officially become adults in Japan.

Anyone who has turned 20 years old in the past year participates in a celebration. They dress up, either wearing a kimono (women) or a suit (men) and take lots of pictures to commemorate their entry into adult society.

While you can vote at the age of 18 in Japan, you cannot get your driver’s license or do many other things until the age of 20, so it’s a very significant and important day.

Setsubun

Setsubun celebrates the arrival of Spring.

On this day, people throw fukumame, or roasted soybeans, out of the front door, and shout “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” (Devils out! Fortunes in!) before slamming the door.

This practice symbolically purifies the home and banishes bad luck and illness for the next year.

After throwing the fukumame, the participants then eat one fukumame for each year of their life, plus one more for good luck.

Japanese Public Holidays | Setsubun

National Foundation Day

As the name suggests, National Foundation Day, which takes place on February 11th, celebrates the Foundation of Japan.

On this day, citizens typically have the day off. A parade also takes place, and other festivals may also be held.

Valentine’s Day and White Day

These two days are linked together! Valentine’s Day, as in the rest of the world, takes place on February 14th.

In Japan, February the 14th is a day when women give two kinds of chocolate away. Obligation chocolate, which is typically small and store-bought, and homemade chocolate.

Homemade chocolate is given to significant others and crushes, whereas obligation chocolate is given to friends, coworkers, classmates, etc.

Notice we only mentioned women and not men.

That’s because…

White Day, which takes place a month later, is the reciprocal day where men who have received chocolate from a woman give her a gift in return that comes out to an equal value.

Japanese Public Holidays

Golden Week

Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク) is not one day, but a collection of holidays that fall one after another. You’ll have noticed in the table above three holidays all come directly after each other.

Along with Shōwa Day, these days all make up the Golden Week in Japan.

In 2022, these dates fall from April 29th to May 5th.

In Japan, most people travel during Golden Week, often to see friends and family or go on vacation abroad, as the majority of people have paid time off that week.

Tanabata

Tanabata is celebrated in July and August, and is known in English as the Star Festival.

While the date of the festival takes place varies by region, it celebrates the meeting of Orihime and Hikoboshi.

Orihime and Hikoboshi are a pair of lovers who are separated by the Milky Way and can only meet once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar (hence the name 七夕 (Tanabata) which has the Chinese character for seven in it.

On this day, people write wishes on small pieces of paper and hang them on bamboo, which is often burned or set afloat after the festival.

Japanese National Holidays | Tanabata

Obon

Obon starts on different dates depending on one’s region, but always lasts three days.

It is a festival meant to honour the spirits of one’s ancestors.

During this time, people typically wear yukata, go to carnivals, and perform a ritual called 送り火(おくりび; sending fire).

This ritual is meant to send ancestors’ spirits back to their permanent resting place. The 盆踊り(ぼんおどり, or Bon Dance) is also performed to remember and appreciate one’s ancestor’s sacrifices.

Christmas

In Japan, Christmas is very different from how it is celebrated in the West.

DID YOU KNOW | Only 1% of Japanese people are Christian.

Due to this, Christmas is essentially a commercial holiday in Japan.

It is seen as similar to Valentine’s Day, with people going on dates with their significant others.

Families will sometimes eat a cake together, and children may receive gifts.

A tree may also be put up. Schools and offices will often have parties.

Public Holidays in Japan | Christmas

Hopefully that gives you a solid idea of what holidays are celebrated in Japan and the dates you should be looking out for on your calendar.

If you want to discover why people have to work weekends to make up for public holidays in China, you’ll want to check out our guide to Chinese public holidays here.

Whilst you are at it come and check out Korea’s most important celebrations and finally Vietnam’s big six Public Holidays also.

DID YOU KNOW | We now offer Japanese courses in Tokyo. You can study in small group classes or create your own individual program. Additionally you can even stay at one of our homestay families in Tokyo to boost your skills further.

Drop us a message if you fancy getting involved.

JAPANESE NATIONAL HOLIDAYS – FAQ’S

How many national holidays does Japan have?

In total there are 15 public holidays in Japan throughout the year.

When is Golden Week in Japan in 2022?

Golden week starts on April 29th in Japan for 2022.

Golden week is also made up of these three holidays:

Constitution Memorial Day

Greenery Day

Children’s Day

These all occur on May 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.

Does Japan celebrate Christmas?

DID YOU KNOW | Only 1% of Japanese people are Christian.

Due to this, Christmas is essentially a commercial holiday in Japan.

It is seen as similar to Valentine’s Day, with people going on dates with their significant others.

Families will sometimes eat a cake together, and children may receive gifts.

A tree may also be put up. Schools and offices will often have parties.

What is Coming of Age Day?

Coming of Age Day, celebrated at the start of January, is the day where children officially become adults in Japan.

Anyone who has turned 20 years old in the past year participates in a celebration.

They dress up, either wearing a kimono (women) or a suit (men) and take lots of pictures to commemorate their entry into adult society.

While you can vote at the age of 18 in Japan, you cannot get your driver’s license or do many other things until the age of 20, so it’s a very significant and important day.

How many other holidays does Japan also have?

There are around 8 significant ones such as Valentine’s Day, White Day, and Obon.

Whilst Christmas is also celebrated, it is more commercial in Japan, rather than religious.

What is the most important holiday in Japan?

Typically New Year is the most celebrated and biggest festival across the year in Japan.

The celebration is generally referred to as 正月, whilst the day itself is known as 元日.

When is Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan?

In 2022 Labor Thanksgiving Day will take place on November 23rd.

What is White Day in Japan?

In Japan, February the 14th is a day when women give two kinds of chocolate away. Obligation chocolate, which is typically small and store-bought, and homemade chocolate.

Homemade chocolate is given to significant others and crushes, whereas obligation chocolate is given to friends, coworkers, classmates, etc.

This day is of course known as Valentine’s Day.

Notice we only mentioned women and not men.

That’s because…

White Day, which takes place a month later on March 14th, is the reciprocal day where men who have received chocolate from a woman give her a gift in return that comes out to an equal value.

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