National Holidays in Japan

Anyone doing business with Japanese will be surprised at their apparently high number of national holidays.

It's easy to forget that Japan is not a 'Christian' country, so Christmas and Easter are normal working days there. In fact, Japan has about the same number of National Holidays as Western countries.

National Holidays in Japan

Despite the apparently large number of Japanese who travel overseas as tourists, many Japanese workers traditionally don't take all their annual leave entitlement. So when the office closes for a National Holiday, those days are especially precious. Try to arrange a tele-conference call on a Japanese national holiday and see how quickly you lose favour with your Japanese customers.

If a national holiday falls on a Sunday, the next day might be taken off. This differs from the West where such a day is always taken off. If a national holiday falls on a Saturday, the previous day is usually not taken off. But in any event, it's worth checking before you make any appointment around those times.

The fiscal year usually begins 1 April (in line with government departments) and is the traditional time for new employees to join a company. Managers are busy around that time for training, welcome reception meetings, etc.

1JanuaryNew Year's Day
The next working day is taken as holiday if 1st is on a weekend
2nd MondayJanuaryComing of Age Day
11FebruaryNational Foundation Day
3MarchGirl's Day
Not an official holiday, but cause for celebration. Staff might take a day of their annual leave entitlement to accompany their daughter to a shrine. See also 5 May
20 or 21MarchVernal Equinox Day
29AprilGreenery Day
3MayConstitution Memorial Day
Since there are three consecutive days holiday, many people take off the whole week to enjoy the late spring weather before the typhoon season. This week is called 'Golden Week'
4May National Holiday
5May Children's Day (often referred to as Boy's Day)
Since 3/3 is Girl's Day and 5/5 is Boy's Day, 4/4 is logically referred to as Gay Day (although not well known as such to most heterosexuals.) No doubt China will soon export to Japan, and elsewhere, the celebration of Singles Day on 11/11.
internet n: a mine of useless information
3rd MondayJulyMarine Day
3rd MondaySeptemberRespect for the Aged Day
23 or 24SeptemberAutumnal Equinox Day
2nd MondayOctoberHealth and Sports Day
3NovemberCulture Day
23NovemberLabour Thanksgiving Day
23DecemberEmperor's Birthday

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