The Japanese are not in the habit of taking long periods of annual leave. However there are 15 national, government-recognised public holidays per year (compared to 8 public holidays in England & Wales). These public holidays in Japan mean that particular short periods are extremely busy with people travelling to be with family, or taking part in festivities. The period at the beginning of May when several public holidays fall on consecutive days is know as “Golden Week”.

Actual bank holidays are shown in bold.

January 2017

2nd (Monday): New Year’s Day (gantan): only 1st January is an official national holiday (which falls on Sunday, so 2nd will be taken instead). But the New Year period (shogatsu) is considered to last until the 3rd, and many business re-open on the 4th or 5th. 2nd-3rd: Officially a holiday for bank and government employees only.

9th (Monday): Coming of Age Day (seijin no hi): all young people who turn 20 this year are celebrated on this national holiday.

February

3rd: Beginning of Spring (setsubun): a traditional festival, but not national holiday.

11th (Saturday): National Foundation Day (kenkoku kinen no hi)

March

3rd: Girls’ or Dolls’ Festival (hina matsuri): traditional festival, but not a national holiday.

20th (Monday): Spring Equinox (shunbun no hi) As Spring Equinox falls on a Sunday, Monday 21st is taken as a holiday instead.

April

29th (Saturday): Showa Day (Showa no hi), the birthday of the Showa Emperor (Hirohito).

May

3rd (Wednesday): Constitution Day (kenpo kinenbi)

4th (Thursday): Greenery Day (midori no hi)

5th (Friday): Childrens’ Day (Boys’ Day) (kodomo no hi)a traditional festival

July

7th: Tanabata (Star Festival) is a traditional festival but not a national holiday

13th-15th: Obon (Festival of Souls): although this is not an official national holiday, many offices are closed (Tokyo celebrates in July)

17th (Monday): Marine Day (umi no hi)

August

11th (Friday): Mountain Day

13th-15th: Obon (Festival of Souls): although this is a traditional festival and not an official national holiday, many offices are closed (most of the country celebrates this festival in August)

September

18th (Monday): Respect for the Aged Day (keiro no hi)

23nd (Saturday): Autumn Equinox

October

9th (Monday): Sports Day (taiku no hi)

November

3rd (Friday): Culture Day (bunka no hi)

15th: Shichi-go-san (7/5/3 Festival): not a holiday but a traditional festival

23rd (Thursday): Labour Thanksgiving Day (kinro kansha no hi)

December

23rd (Saturday): Emperor’s Birthday (Tenno tanjobi)

25th: Not a national holiday

31st: New Years Eve (omisoka): officially a holiday for bank and government employees only. But for many offices, 30th will be the last working day until 4th January.

January 2018

1st (Monday): New Year’s Day (gantan): only 1st January is an official national holiday, but the New Year period (shogatsu) is considered to last until the 3rd, and many business re-open on the 5th. 2nd, 3rd: Officially holidays for bank and government employees only.

8th (Monday): Coming of Age Day (seijin no hi): all young people who turn 20 this year are celebrated on this national holiday.

February

3rd: Beginning of Spring (setsubun): a traditional festival, but not a national holiday.

11th (Sunday): National Foundation Day (kenkoku kinen no hi), because it falls on a Sunday, will be observed on Monday 12th.

March

3rd: Girls’ or Dolls’ Festival (hina matsuri): a traditional festival, but not a national holiday.

21st (Wednesday): Spring Equinox (shunbun no hi)

April

29th (Sunday): Showa Day (Showa no hi), the birthday of the Showa Emperor (Hirohito). Because it falls on Sunday, this will be observed on Monday 30th.

May

3rd (Thursday): Constitution Day (kenpo kinenbi)

4th (Friday): Greenery Day (midori no hi)

5th (Saturday): Childrens’ Day (Boys’ Day) (kodomo no hi) a traditional festival

July

7th: Tanabata (Star Festival) is a traditional festival but not a national holiday

15th: Obon (Festival of Souls): although this is a traditional festival and not an official national holiday, many offices are closed (Tokyo celebrates in July)

16th (Monday): Marine Day (umi no hi)

August

11th (Saturday): Mountain Day (yama no hi)

15th: Obon (Festival of Souls): although this is not an official national holiday, many offices are closed (most of the country celebrates this festival in August)

September

17th (Monday): Respect for the Aged Day (keiro no hi)

23rd (Sunday): Autumn Equinox, because it falls on Sunday will be observed on Monday 24th.

October

8th (Monday): Sports Day (taiku no hi)

November

3rd (Saturday): Culture Day (bunka no hi)

15th: Shichi-go-san (7/5/3 Festival): not a holiday but a traditional festival

23rd (Friday): Labour Thanksgiving Day (kinro kansha no hi)

December

23rd (Sunday): Emperor’s Birthday (Tenno tanjobi) which as it falls in Sunday will be observed on Monday 24th.

25th: Not a national holiday

31st (Monday): New Years Eve (omisoka): officially a holiday for bank and government employees only. But for many offices, 30th will be the last working day until 4th January.

January 2019

1st (Tuesday): New Year’s Day (gantan): only 1st January is an official national holiday, but the New Year period (shogatsu) is considered to last until the 3rd, and many business re-open on the 4th or 5th. 2nd-3rd: Officially a holiday for bank and government employees only.

14 (Monday): Coming of Age Day (seijin no hi): all young people who turn 20 this year are celebrated on this national holiday.

February

3rd: Beginning of Spring (setsubun): a traditional festival, but not national holiday.

11th (Monday): National Foundation Day (kenkoku kinen no hi)

March

3rd: Girls’ or Dolls’ Festival (hina matsuri): a traditional festival but not a national holiday.

20th (Wednesday): Spring Equinox (shunbun no hi)

April

29th (Monday): Showa Day (Showa no hi), the birthday of the Showa Emperor (Hirohito).

May

3rd (Friday): Constitution Day (kenpo kinenbi)

4th (Saturday): Greenery Day (midori no hi)

5th (Sunday): Childrens’ Day (Boys’ Day) (kodomo no hi) a traditional festival

July

7th: Tanabata (Star Festival) is a traditional festival but not a national holiday

13th-15th: Obon (Festival of Souls): although this is not an official national holiday, many offices are closed (Tokyo celebrates in July)

15th (Monday): Marine Day (umi no hi)

August

11th (Thursday): Mountain Day A new holiday which occurs for the first time in 2016 to lay off the pressure on businessmen

13th-15th: Obon (Festival of Souls): although this is a traditional festival and not an official national holiday, many offices are closed (most of the country celebrates this festival in August)

September

16th (Monday): Respect for the Aged Day (keiro no hi)

23rd (Monday): Autumn Equinox

October

14th (Monday): Sports Day (taiku no hi)

November

3rd (Sunday): Culture Day (bunka no hi)

15th: Shichi-go-san (7/5/3 Festival): not a holiday but a traditional festival

23rd (Saturday): Labour Thanksgiving Day (kinro kansha no hi)

December

23rd (Monday): Emperor’s Birthday (Tenno tanjobi)

25th: Not a national holiday

31st: New Years Eve (omisoka): officially a holiday for bank and government employees only. But for many offices, 30th will be the last working day until 4th January.