Holidays are very important for the Japanese. They celebrate them with family and friends. In Japan, they have 16 government recognized holidays.
If a national holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is also a holiday. Likewise, a day sandwiched between two national holidays is a holiday.
Important holidays in Japan
In Japan, there are few holidays more important than the others.
Shogatsu (new year) is the most important holiday of all. On that day, shops and restaurants are closed and everybody goes out and celebrates. Unlike in Finland, Japanese look forward and celebrate the upcoming year, not the new year’s eve. At midnight, Buddhist temples ring bells 108 times to forgive sins.
Setsubun (the bean-throwing festival). Fun and bizarre, Setsubun kicks off the Haru Matsuri (Spring Festival) in Japan. Setsubun is an old tradition that has become a televised event filled with national celebrities. It is celebrated February 3 or 4.
Hanami (Cherry blossom festival). This festival is to appreciate the cherry blossom flowers and nature. Families and friends try to get a quiet spots in busy parks to have picnics and parties, both day and night. This holiday is celebrated between March and May.
Golden week. Is the big event to plan around! It is the busiest traveling time on japan. People take extended vacation days this week so many businesses are closed. This hits the time from end of April till the May 6.
Obon. Is not a “real” holiday according to the Japanese government but still important. On this day, the Japanese celebrate the commemorate deceased ancestors. Dates vary from region to region but the festival takes always place during the summer.
The Emperor´s birthday. Emperor Akihito, the current Emperor of Japan, was born on December 23, 1933. The date is celebrated as an annual national holiday in Japan. This is the day you can see the Emperor as he makes short visits around the country. This festival is one of two days each year when the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace are open to the general public.
So if you are travelling to Japan you might want to take these holidays under consideration.