Autumn’s Long Holiday in Japan : the Silver Week

In Japan, it is easy to get more than 5 days of consecutive holidays in May every year because the holidays of Showa Day (April 29), Constitution Day (May 3), Green Day (May 4) and Children’s Day (May 5) are all together, so it is easy to get more than 5 days of consecutive holidays after adding weekends. Japanese people call this big holiday at the end of April and the beginning of May every year Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク).

But did you know that in September every year, Japan also has a big fall holiday called Silver Week?

Why is the Silver Week called Silver Week?

As early as the 1950s, the name “Silver Week” already existed in Japan. However, the term “Silver Week” at that time referred to the November break, not the current September break.

At that time, some movie companies found that Japan unexpectedly had a lot of November days, so like the Golden Week in May, they called the November break centered on the Day of Culture as Silver Week in their corporate advertisements. Later, this name gradually spread among the Japanese people, and it became a consensus that the autumn break was called Silver Week.

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In 2000, the Happy Monday policy was introduced, and since 2003, the third Monday of September has been designated as the day of respect for the elderly. In this way, there will be a triple holiday (Saturday + Sunday + Monday for the elderly) in September, and this triple holiday has been called the Silver Week.

Happy Monday

This is a system in which Japan deliberately sets the day of the wish on Monday so that it can form a triple holiday with the previous weekend.

Since there is an autumnal equinox around the third week of September, if it coincides with the triple holiday of the Day of Respecting the Elderly, there may be a large consecutive holiday of 4 days or more.

For example, in September 2009, Saturday the 19th + Sunday the 20th + the 21st of the day of the elderly + the 22nd(Since the day before and after is a holiday, it automatically becomes a holiday) + the 23rd of the autumnal equinox,  would make a perfect silver week.


Silver Week does not happen every year!

The name Silver Week has since been fixed to point to a situation where 5 consecutive breaks can be achieved in September. That is to say, if there are only 3 or 4 consecutive breaks in September, the break will not usually be called a silver week.

In Japan, the day of respect for the elderly is fixed on the third Monday of every September, and there is already a triple holiday on the previous weekend. If the day of the autumnal equinox falls on the previous Friday or on the Tuesday of the current week, then at most four consecutive holidays will be set, instead of a silver week.

In other words, only when the day of the autumnal equinox is on the Wednesday of the week, thus making Monday and Wednesday both holidays, so that Tuesday also becomes a holiday, so as to constitute a five consecutive long vacations from Saturday to Wednesday, that is, the silver week.

Sounds simple enough? But what about the reality?

Most of Japan’s other observances, such as Sports Day, Mountain Day, and Day of Respect for the Elderly, are artificially set by the government, taking into account the needs of the people, historical traditions, and cultural influences. As you may remember, in 2020 and 2021, in order to allow more people to see the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics, the Japanese government adjusted the dates of Sports Day and Mountain Day to allow for three or four consecutive days of rest around the opening and closing ceremonies.

But the day of the autumnal equinox, and the vernal equinox in the first half of a year are different. The date of the autumnal equinox refers to the day when the autumnal equinox is located, that is, the day when the sun passes through the autumnal equinox, and the date is not determined by people just saying that, but by detailed calculations by professional institutions such as observatories. In Japan, the date of the autumnal equinox is determined based on the “calendar chronology” produced by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

In general, the sun passes through the autumnal equinox on the 22nd or 23rd of September, and since the day of respect for the elderly was set in 2003, the only years in which the autumnal equinox falls on a Wednesday until 2022 are 2009 and 2015.

Silver Week in 2022

So can we have a Silver Week in 2022?

As you can see from the calendar below, the day of respect for the elderly in September is Monday, September 19, and the day of the autumnal equinox is Friday, September 23. If we follow the calendar, there will be two 3 consecutive holidays from 17-19 and 23-25.

If you have a silver week, you need at least 5 consecutive days off. However, even though there will be no Silver Week in 2022, it would be nice to have two triple holidays in a row.

Besides, if you dare, you can have 9 days off in September. If you take time off from September 20 to September 22, so that you can get a 9-day vacation in conjunction with the 3 consecutive holidays before and after.

It’s almost September, so if you have plans to travel, you can look at your work schedule and arrange your vacation well.

When is the next Silver Week?

According to the calculation, the next silver week year after 2022 is 2026, and the next one is 2032, which is a little bit far away. ……

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