2024 Public Holidays in Japan

Public Holidays in Japan in 2024

Japan, a country known for its rich cultural heritage and technological innovation, observes several public holidays throughout the year. These holidays reflect the nation’s traditions, history, and values. In 2024, Japan will celebrate a variety of public holidays, each with its own significance and customs.

National Holidays

New Year’s Day (Shōgatsu) – January 1st

New Year’s Day in Japan is one of the most important holidays of the year. It is celebrated with visits to shrines and temples for Hatsumode (the first shrine visit of the year), traditional meals like Osechi Ryori, and spending time with family. Many people also watch the first sunrise of the year, known as Hatsuhinode.

Coming of Age Day (Seijin no Hi) – Second Monday of January

Coming of Age Day is a day to celebrate young people who have reached the age of 20, which is considered the age of adulthood in Japan. Ceremonies are held at local government offices where new adults receive congratulations and words of encouragement. Many young adults wear traditional kimono for this occasion.

National Foundation Day (Kenkoku Kinen no Hi) – February 11th

National Foundation Day commemorates the foundation of Japan and the accession of its first emperor, Emperor Jimmu, in 660 BC according to legend. It is a day to celebrate Japanese culture, history, and traditions. While it is a public holiday, there are no specific customs associated with National Foundation Day.

Vernal Equinox Day (Shunbun no Hi) – Date varies

Vernal Equinox Day marks the beginning of spring and is a day to appreciate nature and family. Many people visit their family graves and perform cleaning rituals, while others enjoy outdoor activities like cherry blossom viewing (Hanami). It is also a time for reflection on life and renewal.

Showa Day (Showa no Hi) – April 29th

Showa Day honors the birthday of Emperor Showa (Hirohito), who ruled Japan from 1926 to 1989. It is a day of reflection on the Showa era and its impact on Japanese history. Many people use this day to visit museums, watch documentaries, or engage in activities related to Japanese history and culture.

Constitution Memorial Day (Kenpō Kinenbi) – May 3rd

Constitution Memorial Day commemorates the promulgation of the post-war Constitution of Japan on May 3, 1947. It is a day to reflect on the significance of democracy and the rule of law in Japan. Many people use this day to study the Constitution and its principles.

Greenery Day (Midori no Hi) – May 4th

Greenery Day celebrates nature and the environment. Originally celebrated on April 29th, it was moved to May 4th as part of the Golden Week holiday period. Many people use this day to engage in outdoor activities such as hiking, gardening, or enjoying nature.

Children’s Day (Kodomo no Hi) – May 5th

Children’s Day is a day to celebrate the happiness and well-being of children. Families with boys often display Koinobori (carp-shaped windsocks) outside their homes to symbolize strength and success. Traditional foods like Kashiwa Mochi (rice cakes filled with sweet bean paste) are also enjoyed on this day.

Marine Day (Umi no Hi) – Third Monday of July

Marine Day is a day to give thanks to the ocean and to appreciate its importance to Japan as an island nation. Many people use this day to enjoy activities such as beach outings, barbecues, and fireworks displays. Marine conservation efforts are also promoted on this day.

Respect for the Aged Day (Keiro no Hi) – Third Monday of September

Respect for the Aged Day is a day to honor and show appreciation for the elderly. Many communities hold events and ceremonies to celebrate the contributions of older adults to society. It is also a time for families to visit and spend time with their elderly relatives.

Autumnal Equinox Day (Shūbun no Hi) – Date varies

Autumnal Equinox Day marks the beginning of autumn and is a day to honor ancestors and show gratitude for the harvest. Many people visit family graves and offer prayers and offerings to their ancestors. It is also a time for families to come together and enjoy seasonal foods.

Health and Sports Day (Taiiku no Hi) – Second Monday of October

Health and Sports Day promotes sports and an active lifestyle. Many schools and communities hold sports festivals and events on this day, including track and field competitions, relay races, and traditional games. It is also a time to promote health and wellness through exercise and fitness activities.

Culture Day (Bunka no Hi) – November 3rd

Culture Day celebrates Japanese arts, culture, and academic endeavors. Many cultural events and exhibitions are held across the country, showcasing traditional arts such as tea ceremony, flower arranging (ikebana), and calligraphy. It is also a day to honor artists, scholars, and cultural achievements.

Labour Thanksgiving Day (Kinrō Kansha no Hi) – November 23rd

Labour Thanksgiving Day is a day to express gratitude for workers and their contributions to society. Many communities hold events and ceremonies to honor workers and promote labor rights and welfare. It is also a time to reflect on the importance of work-life balance and social justice.

Emperor’s Birthday (Tennō Tanjōbi) – December 23rd

Emperor’s Birthday celebrates the birthday of the current Emperor of Japan. It is a national holiday when the Imperial Palace in Tokyo is open to the public, and the Emperor and other members of the Imperial Family make appearances on the palace balcony to greet well-wishers.

Table of Public Holidays and Days Off

Holiday Date Days Off Groups
New Year’s Day January 1 1 All
Coming of Age Day Second Monday of January 0 Young adults (age 20)
National Foundation Day February 11 1 All
Vernal Equinox Day Date varies 0 All
Showa Day April 29 1 All
Constitution Memorial Day May 3 1 All
Greenery Day May 4 1 All
Children’s Day May 5 1 Families with children
Marine Day Third Monday of July 1 All
Respect for the Aged Day Third Monday of September 1 Elderly
Autumnal Equinox Day Date varies 0 All
Health and Sports Day Second Monday of October 0 All
Culture Day November 3 1 All
Labour Thanksgiving Day November 23 1 All
Emperor’s Birthday December 23 1 All

 

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