- New Year's Day January 1st
- Coming-of-Age Day 2nd Monday of January
- National Foundation Day February 11th
- Spring Equinox Day March 20th
- Greenery Day April 29th（It will be "Day of Showa" on 2007）
- Constitution Day May 3rd
- National Holiday May 4th（It will be " Greenery Day" on 2007）
- Children's Day May 5th
- Marine Day 3rd Monday of July
- Respect-for-the-Senior-Citizens Day 3rd Monday of September
- Fall Equinox Day September 23rd
- Sports Day 2nd Monday of October
- Culture Day November 3rd
- Labor Day November 23rd
- The Emperor's Birthday December 23rd
Vacations and Events
New Years Holiday
For New Years Civil servants take their holidays from December 28th to January 3rd and many private companies take their holidays from December 28th to January 5th. Some stores (e.g., convenience stores), however, are open all year round.
Golden Week is a special week which includes the celebration of four consecutive holidays from April 29th to May 5th. April 29th is Greenery Day (the birthday of the late Emperor Hirohito), May 3rd is Constitution Day, May 4th is Between Day and May 5th is Children's Day (called, "Kodomo-no-hi"). Depending on when the Saturdays and Sundays fall in the week, Golden Week is sometimes extended by up to one or two days, making a maximum 10-day holiday. Many businesses are closed during Golden week. Sightseeing attractions and public transportation are overcrowded as most people choose to take their vacation during this time.
The Obon is a Buddhist celebration (mid-August) where the Japanese honor their ancestors and departed loved ones. During this holiday, most people will visit their hometown. Public transportation is overcrowded during this time.
Except for in a few areas, all Japanese schools have summer holidays from July 20th to end of August. During this period, you can enjoy summer festivals, fireworks and Bon festivals in numerous places in Japan.
Setsubun (Feb 3)
Setsubun is a time when the Japanese celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of spring. In the evening, people scatter beans (called "mame-maki") around homes and shrines while chanting "Devils go away and Mascots come in!" This is a popular ritual associated with getting rid of evil spirits and bringing happiness into the home. After "mame-maki", it is custom to eat the same number of beans equivalent to your age to promote good health and fortune for the coming year.
Girls and Boys Festivals (March 3 and May 5)
The purpose of these festivals is for parents to celebrate the health and growth of their daughter or son. Japanese imperial family dolls for girls or Japanese knight dolls for boys are decorated to celebrate the festivities.
Equinox Days (March and September)
The one week period around Spring Equinox Day and Fall Equinox Day, are called "Spring Higan" and "Fall Higan" respectively. Many people visit graves during these times.
Mother's and Father's Days (2nd Sunday of May and 3rd Sunday of June)
On these days, children give small gifts to their mothers and fathers to show appreciation for their hard work. These events originated from the United States just like Valentine's Day, Halloween and Christmas Day.
Star Festival (July 7 or August 7)
The Star Festival is based on an ancient Chinese legend. This is a time when the Japanese write their wishes on colorful strips of paper and hang them from bamboo branches. Originally celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar (either July or August), the star festival is celebrated on July 7th or August 7th, depending on the region. Festivals are held in many cities, and the most well-known are in Sendai (Miyagi) and Hiratsuka (Kanagawa).
Shichi-go-san (Seven-Five-Three) (November 15)
When boys reach the age of three and five, and girls reach the age of three and seven, families visit shrines to receive blessing and to pray for the health and growth of their children.