Before or after you plan your travel to Japan, it’s worthwhile to check if there are any public holidays during your stay in Japan, not only because some museums, shops and other facilities are closed on public holidays but also because Japanese people will be traveling and be visiting popular places on those holidays as well.

Shinkansen, flights, and accommodations may be booked out very early for those holidays if you don’t plan ahead. The prices could go up unless you book early. The public holidays in 2018 in Japan are as below.

Date Days of the Week Holiday
January 1st Monday New Year’s Day
January 8th Monday Coming of Age Day
February 11th Sunday National Foundation Day
February 12th Monday National Foundation Day (Substitute holiday)
March 21st Wednesday Spring Equinox
April 29th Sunday Showa Day
April 30th Monday Showa Day (Substitute holiday)
May 3rd Thursday Constitution Memorial Day
May 4th Friday Greenery Day
May 5th Saturday Children’s Day
July 16th Monday Marine Day
August 11th Saturday Mountain Day
September 17th Monday Respect for the Elderly Day
September 23rd Sunday Autumn Equinox
September 24th Monday Autumn Equinox (Substitute holiday)
October 8th Monday Sports Day
November 3rd Saturday Culture Day
November 23rd Friday Labor Thanksgiving Day
December 23rd Sunday Emperor’s Birthday
December 24th Monday Emperor’s Birthday (Substitute holiday)



1. Year-End and New Year Holiday

Although December 31st, January 2nd, and January 3rd are not mentioned in the list above, they are also a part of Year-End and New Year Holiday.

2. What is “Substitute holiday” in Japan?

When a public holiday happens to be a Sunday in Japan,  the next Monday will become a public holiday, which is “Substitute holiday”.

When do Japanese people travel?
It may be helpful to know the three periods that are the busiest travel seasons in Japan. Shinkansen, air flights, and accommodations are booked out early and the prices could go up if you don’t book early for those periods.

1. New Year
Most companies close business from December 30 until January 3. 

2. Golden Week
Four public holidays; Showa Day, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day, and Children’s Day are placed within 7 days. Some people use paid leave to combine those holidays and weekend and make it a long holiday week. 

3. Obon Week
Obon is a Japanese Buddhist event to honor ancestors and is observed from August 13 until 15 or 16 (in some regions July 13-15 or 16). Many Japanese people go back to their family places during this period. Some companies close down for the Obon week.

Avoid busy time and enjoy Japan!
We recommend you avoid the three busiest travel seasons in Japan mentioned above to save your budget and to avoid the crowds.