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Public holidays in Japan: complete list

National Foundation Day of Japan 2019 - public holidays in Japan

I love that there are so many days off in Japan

Although people say Japanese people work themselves really hard, that’s not always true. I realized by working here myself that there are tons of public holidays in Japan!

Why are there so many public holidays in Japan?

Well, Japanese people observe holidays for lots of reasons – to celebrate political figures, nature, family and more. For example, there’s Mountain Day. I mean, don’t we all want a holiday to celebrate mountains?

public holidays in Japan
Artanisen, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

List of public holidays in Japan

Okay, here’s the list of every public holiday in Japan for 2023 (based on the Japan Embassy’s calendar):

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • January 2 – New Year’s Day (again, because the 1st fell on a Sunday)
  • January 9 – Coming of Age Day (celebrating becoming an adult)
  • February 11 – National Foundation Day (the date Japan was founded – supposedly by the first emperor)
  • February 23 – Emperor’s Birthday (based on the birthday of the current emperor)
  • March 21 – Vernal Equinox Day (an equinox is when night and day are about the same length)
  • April 29 – Showa Day (supposedly to remember the Showa era, but it falls on Emperor Showa’s birthday)
  • Golden Week (a collection of holidays that generally give up to a week off of work in Japan – if you plan it right with your weekends)
    • May 3 – Constitution Memorial Day (the date of the enactment of the constitution of Japan… or basically when the US forced their will on Japan after winning the war)
    • May 4 – Greenery Day (a day to appreciate nature… but actually the date the Showa emperor was born)
    • May 5 – Children’s Day (celebrating children – yes, that simple)
  • July 17 – Marine Day (appreciating the ocean’s importance)
  • August 11 – Mountain Day (a day to get to love the mountains)
  • September 18 – Respect for the Aged Day (I love this about Japan – we should have a day like this in America)
  • September 23 – Autumnal Equinox Day (another of the public holidays in Japan celebrating an equinox)
  • October 9 – Sports Day (commemorating the opening of the 1964 Summer Olympics held in Japan – now a day to focus on sports and being active)
  • November 3 – Culture Day (a date to celebrate all types of culture and achievements)
  • November 23 – Labor Thanksgiving Day (you guessed it, celebrating labor – and people should give thanks for other things, too – but Japanese people don’t celebrate this day like American Thanksgiving)
Carrie Kellenberger, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Compared to America…

I’m American, so I often make comparisons between Japan and America. So, I thought I’d compare the number of public holidays between both countries.

Japan has 17 public holidays this year. The United States has only 11! I think Japan wins. More days off = happier life IMHO.

Love Hate Japan
a website about everything I love and hate about Japan

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