Now that we’re down to the heels of the year that has been 2021, there’s much excitement and fervor people are looking forward to in the year to come. Among these things are public holidays. Sure, everyone loves holidays, right? But even more so, the residents and tourists planning to visit Japan as soon as travel restrictions are eased.
Though travel and tourism have virtually plummeted in most parts of the world, including Japan, there’s budding optimism once again at the start of a New Year. And, as the year 2021 draws to an end, it’s time for individuals to rethink their plans. If you live in Japan or intend to visit soon, here is a list of the country’s public holidays for 2022.
- 2022 Japan Public Holidays
- January 1 (Saturday) – New Year’s Day
- January 10 (Monday) – Coming of Age Day
- February 11 (Friday) – National Foundation Day
- February 23 (Wednesday) – The Emperor’s Birthday
- March 21 (Monday) – Vernal Equinox Day
- April 29 (Friday) – Showa Day
- May 3 (Tuesday) – Constitution Memorial Day
- May 4 (Wednesday) – Greenery Day
- May 5 (Thursday) – Children’s Day
- July 18 (Monday) – Marine Day
- August 11 (Thursday) – Mountain Day
- September 19 (Monday) – Respect for the Aged Day
- September 23 (Friday) –Autumnal Equinox Day
- October 10 (Monday) – Health and Sports Day
- November 3 (Thursday) – Culture Day
- November 23 (Wednesday) – Labour Thanksgiving Day
2022 Japan Public Holidays
Whether you want to spend your vacation in Japan or with your family overseas, you may successfully arrange your calendar by referring to the list of public holidays held in the nation in 2022:
January 1 (Saturday) – New Year’s Day
In Japan, New Year’s Eve is celebrated according to the calendar year which is the Gregorian.
Despite the date change, the Japanese still celebrate New Year’s Day on January 1.
This holiday involves various activities, such as the annual cleaning of the home and giving small sums of money to kids.
Getting up early to see the sunrise is a tradition in Japan, but only the most dedicated individuals can get up and start celebrating this occasion.
On New Year’s Eve, there are special food items served in Japan, such as Toshi Koshi soba soup and Ozouni soup. These are believed to bring good luck.
January 10 (Monday) – Coming of Age Day
On January 2, 2019, Japan holds Coming of Age Day. This event is dedicated to recognizing the country’s newest adults.
This event is commonly celebrated by holding a party for the newly minted adults. It involves food, fellowship, and fun.
Aside from the official events, there are also special ceremonies held at local government offices.
On Coming of Age Day, women usually wear a long-sleeved kimono, which they borrow from their relatives.
Before the event, men usually go to beauty salons to get their hair done and wear their formal suits.
February 11 (Friday) – National Foundation Day
Every February 11, the Japanese will observe National Foundation Day.
National Foundation Day is celebrated on the day when Japan became a unified nation following Emperor Jimmu’s reign in 660 B.C.
The holiday’s roots go back to the days when the national government promoted the worship of the sitting emperor.
The method used for celebrating National Foundation Day was based on the local gods and the Shinto religion.
It was only officially recognized as an official holiday in 1872 after people began to consider the significance of Japanese citizenship.
Although it’s an official holiday, there are no public events held to mark it. Instead, many flag-raising ceremonies are conducted in different areas across the country.
February 23 (Wednesday) – The Emperor’s Birthday
Prior to the Second World War, the emperor’s birthday was also known as Tenchosetsu. It was a celebration to honor the ruler and the person who was the emperor.
In 1948, the emperor’s birthday was officially recognized as a public holiday in Japan. This translated form of Japanese was also used for the first time.
Since Emperor Showa passed away in 1989 following his death, April 29 became known as Greenery Day.
In 2007, Showa Day was also celebrated. Following Showa’s death, his son, Emperor Akihito, became the new emperor.
Akihito’s birthday is December 23. This means that the Diet had to change Tenno Tanjobi’s name to Akihito’s instead.
Law in Japan states that the Diet has to change the name of Tenno Tanjobi to honor the current emperor.
Since Emperor’s Day is a unique occasion in Japan, the citizens have come up with many ways to celebrate the occasion:
* Visiting the Imperial Palace: Many people visit the Imperial Palace during the Emperor’s birthday. On the date of the current emperor’s birthday, the palace opens to the public.
During the holiday, people can tour the Imperial Palace’s inner rooms and courtyard. There is also a large ceremony held at the venue.
Before the ceremony begins, thousands of people gather in front of The Imperial Palace.
During the event, the Emperor will often thank the visitors for their visit.
* Flags: Since it’s a national holiday, many households display the Japanese flag on their home walls.
* Letters: During this period, many Japanese citizens send letters to the Emperor. Some of these are personal and heartfelt.
The Emperor receives personal letters from people who are grateful for his humanitarian actions.
Before the Emperor’s birthday, many street vendors sell stamps and parchment to people who want to send a letter to him.
Tokyo is the best place to celebrate the occasion since the events at the Imperial Palace are held there.
March 21 (Monday) – Vernal Equinox Day
The arrival of spring is celebrated in Japan with great enthusiasm. Originally a Shinto event, this day has since then been secularized.
Years ago, people worshipped the emperor during the vernal equinox. Today, they tend to catch up with their relatives and friends.
Some traditions still exist, such as visiting the graves of ancestors on Vernal Equinox Day.
On this day, many people pray for good luck for the upcoming season. Others start a new hobby or simply clean their houses.
April 29 (Friday) – Showa Day
Originally, Shwa Day was established to honor the emperor for his achievements. However, due to the Second World War, this holiday was discontinued.
On the same day in 1948, members of the imperial government, including Prime Minister Tojo, were sentenced to death.
In 1989, the day was replaced by Greenery Day due to the death of Emperor Hirohito. In 2007, it was brought back to reflect on his reign.
May 3 (Tuesday) – Constitution Memorial Day
On May 3, 1947, Japan’s parliament established a new constitution following the country’s surrender in World War II.
After Emperor Showa surrendered to the US in 1945, the two countries started working together to establish a new constitution.
The draft of the new constitution was ready and ratified in late 1946, however, it was not implemented until May 3, 1947.
Since the new constitution was only implemented on May 3, it was chosen instead of waiting for the war crimes trials of imperial officials.
On this day, Japan’s pacifists commemorate the country’s new constitution.
This day is also a major occasion for Japan’s history and culture to be showcased on public display.
May 4 (Wednesday) – Greenery Day
This holiday is part of Golden Week, which is a time when most Japanese families go on vacation. It’s a time when the country experiences consistently warm weather.
This event is also celebrated to promote the greening of Japan. On the day of its unveiling, Emperor Naruhito gives a speech and encourages people to plant trees.
During this period, people can also visit public areas and parade with colorful paper lanterns.
During this period, people tend to visit tea houses to enjoy the fresh green tea that has been harvested.
May 5 (Thursday) – Children’s Day
On May 5, Japan is known to celebrate Children’s Day. This holiday was only made a public holiday in 1948. It’s the last of the four days that are known as Golden Week.
Prior to that, Girls’ Day and Boys’ Day were held on March 3 and 5. They were observed respectively by fathers and sons.
The government combined the two festivals to promote family unity and equality for women and men.
For Children’s Day, the main decoration is a set of koinobori, which are wind-blown cloth carps.
This year’s celebration features a family of carp that swims in the wind and turns into a dragon.
A samurai warrior wearing a special helmet and displaying a large carp can also be seen on display during this holiday.
July 18 (Monday) – Marine Day
On the third Monday of July, Japan celebrates Marine Day. It’s a day to pay tribute to the country’s bountiful economic success over the years.
This holiday was established in 1941 to commemorate the voyage of Japanese Emperor Meiji.
Although it was initially established to honor the country’s relationship with the sea, the day was also made to recognize the nation’s sailors.
Initially, it was called Marine Memorial Day. It was then changed to Marine Day.
This holiday, which was the first of its kind in Japan, usually falls during the end of the rainy season.
Various events are held in various aquariums across the country to celebrate the occasion. One of these involves mud-ball throwing.
August 11 (Thursday) – Mountain Day
Mountain Day is a new addition to the Japanese national holiday list. It was first celebrated in 2016.
This event is held every year on August 11. It pays tribute to the country’s mountainous regions and ancient cultural traditions.
Mountain Day was long sought after by Japanese skiers and hikers. The event was created by the Japanese Alpine Club.
It was suggested that this holiday be held due to the country’s numerous ways to enjoy the mountains.
One possible reason why August is so important is that it falls on the eighth month of the year.
Although many local authorities have already started celebrating Mountain Day on the 11th, until then, there have been no national holidays in August.
September 19 (Monday) – Respect for the Aged Day
On the third Monday of September of every year, Japan honors its elderly citizens with a national holiday known as “Respect for the Aged Day”.
The first major event for this holiday was held on September 15, 1966.
The concept of the holiday dates back to 1947. It is deeply rooted in Japanese culture.
Every year, the Japanese media interviews some of the oldest citizens in the country. They then give them silver cups.
Since the number of people reaching 100 has increased each year, the size of the cups has also been reduced.
Many people will visit their elderly relatives on the day of “Respect for the Aged Day”. They also provide free food and entertainment for them.
September 23 (Friday) –Autumnal Equinox Day
On the autumnal equinox, which occurs in September in Japan, the country observes Autumnal Equinox Day.
Prior to the establishment of the Constitution, the day was known as Shuki Koreisai.
It is at this time that the days get shorter and the nights longer, which means cooler weather is in store.
In ancient times, this day was also an occasion to thank the gods for an abundant harvest.
On this day, many people honor their deceased ancestors by visiting their graves and arranging flowers and plants in their honor.
In Japan, this time of year is also known as the Thinnest of the dead, which is when the world of the living is at its thinnest.
For Autumnal Equinox Day, rice balls called botomachi are usually served.
October 10 (Monday) – Health and Sports Day
On the second Monday of October every year, Japan marks Health and Sports Day. It’s a day that encourages people to participate in sports and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
The holiday was first celebrated in 1966 on October 10. In 2000, it was changed to October 10.
On Sports Day, various events are held in various schools and businesses in Japan. These include various fun and serious competitions.
Aside from participating in various sports, some of the activities that they can do on the day of Health and Sports Day include obstacle course races and tug of war.
Before the festivities start, a parade with a marching band is carried out in the morning. The national anthem is played during this event.
November 3 (Thursday) – Culture Day
On November 3, Japan’s Culture Day is celebrated. It’s a day to celebrate all things Japanese.
On November 3, 1912, Emperor Meiji’s birthday was no longer celebrated. In 1927, the day was replaced by Culture Day.
On Culture Day, local governments organize various events to promote Japanese culture. One of these is the annual parade held in Tokyo.
The Order of Culture awards are bestowed by the emperor to individuals who are recognized by the Order.
Many schools and colleges in Japan organize special events on Culture Day to promote their students’ research papers and projects.
November 23 (Wednesday) – Labour Thanksgiving Day
On November 23, 2018, Japan marks its annual “Japanese Thanksgiving”. This holiday is also referred to as the Labour Day holiday in other countries.
On this day, various labor-focused events are held in Japan. The biggest event is the Nagano Labour Festival.
The most ancient tradition of the holiday originated from the Shinjo Sai festival, which was focused on the harvest of certain kinds of grains.
The holiday became secular in 1948 when workers’ rights issues started to become prominent in Japan.
It is common for kids to make holiday cards for the firefighters, police officers, and other workers who protect society. Many businesses also take the time to recognize their employees.
When a national holiday falls on a certain day, such as a Sunday, it becomes a holiday. Japan has 16 gazetted national holidays each year. Some of these are combined with the weekend, forming consecutive holidays.
During these days, most areas in central shopping centers and sightseeing areas will be filled with people.
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