My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: February 28, 2019
Japan currently has 16 public holidays each year (15 in 2019, for reasons explained below).
As you plan your travel itinerary, it is useful to know when these days fall and what exactly they celebrate.
In 2019, Japan’s current emperor will abdicate, and his son will take the throne. Because of this, Japan will have 10 non-working days in a row (Saturday, April 27 – Monday, May 6). Airports, train stations, and roads are expected to be especially congested.
Now for the fun stuff. What are these holidays, and what do they celebrate?
|January 1||New Year’s Day|
|Second Monday of January||Coming of Age Day|
|February 11||National Foundation Day|
|Beginning in 2020, February 23||The Emperor’s Birthday|
|March 21, give or take a couple days||Vernal Equinox|
|April 29||Showa Day|
|May 3||Constitution Memorial Day|
|May 4||Greenery Day|
|May 5||Children’s Day|
|Third Monday of July||Sea Day|
|August 11||Mountain Day|
|Third Monday of September||Respect for the Aged Day|
|September 23, give or take a couple days||Autumnal Equinox|
|Second Monday of October||Health & Sports Day|
|November 3||Culture Day|
|November 23||Labor Thanksgiving Day|
On the evening of December 31 or morning of January 1, visit a temple and shrine and get the new year off to a fresh start.
Everyone who turns 20 during this calendar year officially “comes of age.” (In Japan, you can smoke and drink at 20.)
Commemorates the founding of Japan.
Was celebrated on December 23, the birthday of Emperor Akihito. Once Crown Prince Naruhito takes the throne in April 2019, this holiday will fall on his birthday.
In Japan, both equinoxes are public holidays. This is the spring one.
A collection of holidays that give people roughly a week off each year. Tokyo will be buzzing will all sorts of events: music, art, food, festivals. The individual holidays are as follows:
Commemorates the reign of Emperor Hirohito, also known as the Showa Emperor.
Commemorates the day Japan’s current constitution came into effect.
A day to give thanks to nature.
A day to pray for the happy, healthy growth of our children.
Celebrates the bounty of Japan’s oceans.
Celebrates the bounty of Japan’s mountains. Falls near the beginning of Bon, a special period of the year when people take time off to return to their family hometowns and commune with their ancestors.
A day to respect the elderly and celebrate long life.
In Japan, both equinoxes are public holidays. This is the autumn one.
A day to enjoy physical activity and focus on health both physical and mental.
A day to embrace peace and freedom and celebrate culture. Tokyo will be full of cultural events, and admission to some of Japan’s premier museums will be free!
A day to give thanks to each other for our hard work.
…and that’s the full list. Just one more thing: October 1 is a special Tokyo holiday called Citizens Day, where many facilities run by the Tokyo government offer free admission.