Japanese Culture

Dates of Significance

National Dates of Significance

  • New Year’s Day Shōgatsu (1st of January)
  • National Foundation Day Kenkoku Kinen no Hi (11th of February)
  • Emperor’s Birthday Tennō tanjōbi (23rd of February)
  • Spring Equinox Day Shunbun no Hi (Varies each year, usually late March)
  • Shōwa Day Shōwa no Hi (29th of April)
  • Constitution Day Kenpō Kinenbi (3rd of May)
  • Greenery Day Midori no Hi (4th of May)
  • Children’s Day Kodomo no Hi (5th of May)
  • Ocean Day Umi no Hi (3rd Monday of July)
  • Mountain Day Yama no Hi (11th of August)
  • Respect for the Aged Day Keirō no Hi (3rd Monday of September)
  • Autumn Equinox Day Shūbun no Hi (Varies each year, usually late September)
  • Sports Day Supōtsu no Hi (2nd Monday of October)
  • Culture Day Bunka no Hi (3rd of November)
  • Labour Thanksgiving Day Kinrō Kansha no Hi (23rd of November)

Nationwide Festivals

  • Coming of Age Day Seijin no Hi (2nd Monday of January)
  • Beginning of Spring Setsubun (3rd of February)
  • Doll’s Festival/Girl’s Day Hinamatsuri (3rd of March)
  • Flower Viewing Hanami (Varies each year depending on the blooming of trees. Usually occurs from late March to early May).
  • Buddha’s Birthday/Flower Festival Kanbutsu-e/Hanamatsuri (8th of April)
  • Star Festival Tanabata (Varies each year, usually in July or August)
  • Obon (Varies each year, usually in July or August)
  • Seven-Five-Three Shichigosan (15th of November)
  • New Year’s Eve Ōmisoka (31st of December)

Local Festivals (Matsuri)

In addition to national events and major festivals, each region of Japan has its own local festival (matsuri). Though exact dates vary, most of these festivals are held annually over several days. The festivals tend to have cultural, historical, religious or seasonal significance. Commonly, local festivals hold a procession through the local town and will feature decorated floats accompanied with music. One of the most well-known local festivals is the Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri), held for one week in February in the city of Sapporo, Hokkaidō. The most common activity during the festival is to view intricate and elaborate snow and ice sculptures created by artists specifically for the event.

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