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2015 Japanese Holidays and Dates

2015 Japanese holidays and dates Best Living JapanIf you are planning a long family holiday, or just looking forward to three-day weekends, best to know your 2015 Japanese holidays and dates. With four kids in three different schools, we need to plan for the year in January.

2015 Japanese Holidays and Dates

Japan has 15 national holidays in 2015 and will be adding a new national holiday – Mountain Day, from Aug 11, 2016!  Japan increasing the number of national holidays to 16 will result in Japan ranking in the top five countries in the world with the most national holidays; compare that to the US’s 10 or UK’s 8!  Japan implemented a “Happy Monday System” from 2000 which changed set date holidays to be flexible each year to fall on a Mondays, creating three days weekend which increases the number of actually holiday days to 17-18 depending on the year. Examples of the “Happy Monday System”, include; Coming-of-Age Day which used to be set on January 15th but now is flexible to the 2nd Monday of January, and Marine Day which used to be set on July 20th but now is flexible to the 3rd Monday of July. Besides the end of year and New Years break, Golden Week from August 29th – May 6th, and Silver week from September 21st – 23rd are big vacation periods for families so travel costs do increase and destinations become crowded. Below is a list of all the 2015 Japan national holidays and dates, as well as, seasonal, observance and bank holidays. Enjoy the time off, and plan early!

2015 Japanese Holidays and Dates (links go to Wikipedia)

Jan 1, Thursday, New Year’s Day  (National holiday)

Jan 2, Friday, January 2 (Bank Holiday)

Jan 3, Saturday, January 3rd (Bank Holiday)

Jan 12, Monday, Coming of Age Day (National holiday)

Feb 11, Wednesday, National Foundation Day (National holiday)

Mar 3, Tuesday, Dolls’ Festival/Girl’s Festival (Observance)

Mar 20, Friday, March equinox (Seasonal)

Mar 21, Saturday, Spring Equinox (National holiday)

Apr 29, Wednesday, Showa Day (National holiday)

May 3, Sunday, Constitution Memorial Day  (National holiday)

May 4, Monday, Greenery Day (National holiday)

May 5, Tuesday, Children’s Day (National holiday)

May 6, Wednesday, Constitution Memorial Day observed (National holiday)

Jul 7, Tuesday, Star Festival (Observance)

Jul 20, Monday, Marine Day (National holiday)

Sep 21, Monday, Respect for the Aged Day (National holiday)

Sep 22, Tuesday, bridge public holiday (National holiday)

Sep 23, Wednesday, Autumn Equinox (National holiday)

Oct 12, Monday, Sports Day (National holiday)

Nov 3, Tuesday, Culture Day (National holiday)

Nov 15, Sunday, 7-5-3 Day (Observance)

Nov 23, Monday, Labor Thanksgiving Day, (National holiday)

Dec 22, Tuesday, December Solstice (Season)

Dec 23, Wednesday, Emperor’s Birthday (National holiday)

Dec 31, Thursday, December 31 Bank Holiday (Bank holiday)

 

Brief background on each holiday from Wikipedia  – 2015 Japanese Holidays and Dates

Name Date Remarks
New Year’s Day (元日Ganjitsu) January 1 This national holiday was established in 1948, as a day to celebrate the new year. New Year’s Day marks the beginning of Japan’s most important holiday season, the New Year season (正月 Shōgatsu?), which generally refers to the first one, three or seven days of the year. Although not prescribed by law, many workplaces are closed from December 29 to January 3. Prior to 1948, New Year’s Day was a national holiday on which the imperial worship ceremony known as Shihō-hai (四方拝?) took place.
Coming of Age Day (成人の日 Seijin no Hi) Second Monday of January This national holiday was established in 1948 as a day to congratulate and encourage people who have reached the age of maturity (20) during the year. Cities and towns throughout the nation hold ceremonies for these people. Originally held on January 15, in 2000 it was changed to the second Monday of January in accordance with the Happy Monday System.
Foundation Day (建国記念の日Kenkoku Kinen no Hi) February 11 This national holiday was established in 1966 (and first held in 1967) as a day to reflect on the establishment of the nation and to nourish a love for the country. From 1872 to 1948, February 11 was known as Kigen-setsu (紀元節?), a holiday commemorating the day on which—according to the Nihon Shoki—Emperor Jimmu is said to have acceded the throne in 660 BCE.
Vernal Equinox Day (春分の日Shunbun no Hi) Around March 20 This national holiday was established in 1948 as a day for the admiration of nature and the love of living things. Prior to 1948, the vernal equinox was an imperial ancestor worship festival called Shunki kōrei-sai (春季皇霊祭?).
Shōwa Day (昭和の日Shōwa no Hi) April 29 This national holiday was established in 2007 as a day to reflect on the events of the Shōwa period. As the birthday of Hirohito, officially known as Emperor Shōwa, April 29 was originally celebrated as a holiday during his lifetime. (See “The Emperor’s Birthday” below.) After the death of Hirohito in 1989, the date continued to be a holiday under the new name “Greenery Day”. (See also below.) In 2007, Greenery Day was moved to May 4, and April 29 took the name “Shōwa Day” in honor of the late Emperor. Shōwa Day marks the start of the Golden Week holiday period.
Constitution Memorial Day (憲法記念日 Kenpō Kinenbi) May 3 This national holiday was established in 1948, to commemorate the day on which Japan’s postwar constitution took effect. Constitution Memorial Day falls during Golden Week.
Greenery Day  (みどりの日 Midori no Hi) May 4 This national holiday is celebrated as a day to commune with nature and be grateful for its blessings. Originally established in 1989 and held annually on April 29 (the late Shōwa Emperor’s birthday), in 2007 Greenery Day was moved to May 4, and April 29 was renamed “Shōwa Day” (see above.) Greenery Day falls during Golden Week. (From 1986 to 2006, May 4 was a kokumin no kyūjitsu holiday.)
Children’s Day (こどもの日Kodomo no Hi) May 5 This national holiday was established in 1948, as a day on which to esteem the personalities of children and plan for their happiness. It is on this day that the Japanese equivalent of the Dragon Boat Festival (端午の節句 Tango no Sekku?) is held. On this day, and for some time before it, families who have a boy in their home may fly koinobori and decorate their homes with armor or samurai dolls. Children’s Day marks the end of Golden Week.
Marine Day (海の日 Umi no Hi) Third Monday of July This national holiday was established in 1995 (and first held in 1996) as a day of gratitude for the blessings of the oceans and for hoping for the prosperity of the maritime nation that is Japan. Originally held on July 20, in 2003 it was changed to the third Monday of July in accordance with the Happy Monday System
Aug 11 starting Aug 11th 2016 Mountain day
Respect for the Aged Day (敬老の日 Keirō no Hi) Third Monday of September This national holiday was established in 1966 as a day to respect the elderly and celebrate long life. Originally held on September 15, it originated as a renaming of Old Folks’ Day (老人の日Rōjin no hi?). In 2003, it was changed to the third Monday of September in accordance with the Happy Monday System
Autumnal Equinox Day(秋分の日Shūbun no Hi) Around September 23 This national holiday was established in 1948 as a day on which to honor one’s ancestors and remember the dead. Prior to 1948, the autumnal equinox was an imperial ancestor worship festival called Shūki kōrei-sai (秋季皇霊祭?).
Health and Sports Day (体育の日Taiiku no Hi) Second Monday of October This national holiday was established in 1966 as a day on which to enjoy sports and cultivate a healthy mind and body. Originally held on October 10 to commemorate the anniversary of the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, in 2000 it was changed to the second Monday of October in accordance with the Happy Monday System
Culture Day (文化の日Bunka no Hi) November 3 This national holiday was established in 1948. It commemorates the November 3, 1946 announcement of the Constitution. It is recognized as a day to celebrate peace and freedom and promote culture. (Although prior to the establishment of this holiday in 1948, November 3 was also a national holiday called Meiji-setsu (明治節?) commemorating the birthday of Emperor Meiji, the two holidays are ostensibly unrelated.)
Labour Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日 Kinrō Kansha no Hi) November 23 This national holiday was established in 1948 as an occasion for praising labor, celebrating production and giving one another thanks. Prior to the establishment of this holiday, November 23 was celebrated as an imperial harvest festival called Niiname-sai (新嘗祭?).
The Emperor’s Birthday (天皇誕生日Tennō Tanjōbi) December 23 The birthday of the reigning emperor has been a national holiday since 1868. Originally known as Tenchō-setsu (天長節?), it was renamed Tennō tanjōbi (天皇誕生日?) in 1948. It is currently celebrated on December 23; Emperor Akihito was born on this day in 1933. (Prior to the death of Emperor Hirohito in 1989, this holiday was celebrated on April 29. See “Shōwa Day” above.)

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2015 Japanese Holidays and Dates

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