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Japanese Holidays and Events for 2019

Each country has its own national holidays and events taking place throughout the year and Japan is no different. While these events are often a great way to discover the local culture and traditions, they can also play havoc with travel plans as public transportation services become crowded and hotels book out well in advance.

Japanese Holidays and Events for 2019

Index

  • January to March 2019

  • April to June 2019

  • July to September 2019

  • October to December 2019

  • So to help you plan your holidays and the best season for visiting Japan, we’ve put together a guide of national holidays and seasonal events. 2019 is a particularly special year in the Japanese calendar because of the 10-day consecutive holiday during Golden Week. So be extra attentive if you’re planning to visit between the end of April and start of May!

  • January to March 2019

    January to March 2019

    January to March 2019

    2019 February Best Events in Japan
    2019 March Best Events in Japan

    The Japanese calendar begins with Oshogatsu sanganichi - the first three days of January when people spend time with family and friends, visit shrines and temples or feast on special New Year’s dishes. Sales begin in the shopping malls on January 2, with “lucky bags” (heavily discounted bags of secret items) part of Japanese tradition.

    Also in January is the Coming of Age Day, which takes place on January 14 when young people who are turning 20 walk around the streets wearing kimonos or hakama.

    February 11 is marked by Foundation Day when locals celebrate the mythological foundation of the country and the accession of its first emperor in 660BC.

    It’s important to keep in mind that January and February are the coldest months in Japan (and hay fever can be widespread), but it’s also a popular time to go skiing and snowboarding across the country.

    Feature:Sking and Snowboarding in Japan

    The middle of February sees the plum blossoms begin to flower, with Kawazu and Mito both popular viewing destinations. The cherry blossom season starts from late March in the southwest of the country, with Vernal Equinox Day on March 21 to celebrate the coming of the spring. Tokyo’s cherry blossoms usually don’t peak until early April while those in Hokkaido are best viewed in May.

    Article:Mito Plum Blossom Festival

    Cherry Blossom Season in Japan

    Cherry Blossom Season in Japan

    Feature:Cherry Blossom Season Japan

  • April to June 2019

    April to June 2019

    April to June 2019

    2019 April Best Events in Japan

    While April heralds in beautiful weather across much of Japan, it’s also going to see the start of one of the biggest consecutive holiday periods in Japan’s history. The “Golden Week” is to be extended to 10 days of holidays in 2019, meaning that tourist hot spots, traffic and airports will be very crowded and many accommodations will book out early.

    It begins with Showa Day on April 29, followed by the Coronation Day of the new Emperor on the 1st of May. Constitutional Memorial Day takes place on May 3 and Greenery Day on May 4, with Children’s Day celebrated on May 5. Because some of these holidays fall on weekends, the surrounding days will be designated as national holidays by default. Travelers should be aware that many Japanese schools and companies will be taking an extended break over this period.

    While the rains generally begin in Okinawa around early May, they normally arrive in Honshu from June and extend through to the beginning of July. Be prepared for lots of rainy days during this period, sometimes accompanied by high humidity levels. If you’re traveling to Hokkaido, they generally don’t experience much rain during this time and temperatures are more pleasant.

    Rainy Season

    Rainy Season

    Article:How to Stay Dry on Rainy Days

  • July to September 2019

    July to September 2019

    July to September 2019

    The beginning of July marks the start of the Mt. Fuji climbing season, which extends through to the start of September. Travelers should be aware that it can’t be climbed throughout the year for their own safety.

    Trail to the Peak of Mt. Fuji

    Trail to the Peak of Mt. Fuji

    Article:Traversing the Sea to Summit Fujinomiya Trail to the Peak of Mt. Fuji

    July 15 is Marine Day when the Japanese give thanks to the ocean for its bounty and the beaches are also officially declared open throughout much of the country. However, the waters in Okinawa are usually warm enough to swim from the middle of March.

    Article:Beaches of Japan: Six of the Best

    If you’re visiting Japan at the end of July, you can attend the Fuji Rock Festival, which will be held in the Naeba are of Niigata Prefecture from 26 to 28 July. If you want to buy tickets, they are released at the end of January each year and accommodation books out fast!

    In addition to lots of festivals, fireworks take place across the country from the end of July to Obon (August 13-15) when it’s believed the ancestors' spirits return to this world.

    Feature:Festivals in Japan
    Article:Top 10 of the Best Matsuri in Japan

    Feature:Fireworks Festivals in Japan


    One of Japan’s newest national holidays, Mountain Day, officially falls on Sunday, August 11 in 2019 and will be celebrated with a national holiday on August 12 when people are encouraged to connect with the natural world.

    September is marked by Respect for the Aged Day on September 16 in honor of Japan’s elderly citizens and the Autumn Equinox, which falls on September 23.

  • October to December 2019

    October to December 2019

    October to December 2019

    The middle of October in Hokkaido marks the start of the autumn leaves season, which gradually sweeps south through November. Temperatures begin to cool and it’s a generally pleasant time to visit Japan.

    autumn leaves in Japan

    autumn leaves in Japan

    Feature:Color Change Forecast

    Health and Sports Day is celebrated on October 14, followed by the Tokyo Ramen Show, which takes place at Komazawa Olympic Park from the last weekend in October to early November every year.

    Article:Tokyo Ramen Show


    Halloween is celebrated in style on October 31st, with Shibuya serving as the heart of the festival, while Culture Day officially falls on November 3 (with a substitute holiday on November 4) and is marked by art exhibitions and parades. Japan also has its own Thanksgiving festival on November 23, which was created in honor of workers rights.

    Tokyo Ramen Show

    Tokyo Ramen Show

    After the autumn leaves season is over, illuminations begin springing up for the Christmas season, although it might come as a surprise to some Western visitors that December 25 is not a national holiday.

    While some countries celebrate the end of the year with big parties, in Japan, people normally spend December 31 watching Kohaku television specials and eating Toshikoshi soba (“New Year’s Eve noodles), as well as visiting Shinto shrines as part of ninen-mairi traditions.

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