Seasonal holidays in Japan that do not need to be on specific dates fall on Monday.
There are also long holiday seasons such as the year-end and new-year holidays (the last week of December to the first week of January), Golden Week (the last week of April to the first week of May), and the Bon holiday (mid-August).
Traffic and resorts tend to be extremely busy during these times.
日本の祝祭日 （16日/ 2016年12月現在）
|Name of the Day
|New Year’s Holiday
|It is the "festival of the festivals" in Japan. It is celebrated
with solemnity and yet in a joyful mood.
You can see New Year decorations of pine and plum branches, bamboo stalks and ropes with paper festoons.
Many people visit shrines, throw money into an offertory box and pray to gods for a new year.
|In Japan, children are considered adults on their 20th birthday.
Municipal governments host special coming-of-age ceremonies for 20-year-olds and the participants dress up.
It is custom for 20-year-old women to wear a kimono called Furisode (a long-sleeved colorful kimono).
Men wear a formal suit or a traditional Hakama (long pleated skirt worn over a kimono)
From that day on, they are invested with all the rights of citizenship.
(The law was revised in 2016;
the right to vote is given at the age of 18,
lowered from 20.)
|National Foundation Day
|According to an ancient Japanese legend, this is the day when Emperor Jimmu,
the first Emperor of Japan, established his capital in the Yamato district
(today's Nara prefecture) .
This day is celebrated in commemoration of the foundation of the country.
in commemoration of=～を記念して
|Vernal Equinox Day
|The week centering around this day is known as Higan, when all Buddhist
temples throughout the country hold special services.
People visit a grave of their family or relatives, offer flowers, burn sticks of incense, and pray for souls of their ancestors and their dead family.
burn sticks of incense=線香をたく
|This day was the birthday of the late Emperor Showa.
Upon his death in January 1989, the era of Showa ended, Heisei started, and this day was renamed.
|Constitution Memorial Day
|*Commemorated on this day is the establishment of the modern Japanese Constitution,
which came into effect in 1947.
This new constitution prohibits armament and war.
|Ceremonies and parties are observed throughout the country in which the
children are wished happiness and prosperity.
People hoist carp-shaped streamers on tall poles outdoors, take a hot bath with iris leaves floating in it, and eat rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves called Chimaki or rice cakes stuffed with sweet bean paste wrapped in oak leaves called Kashiwa-mochi.
Some homes display a Kabuto (ancient warrior helmet) in the hope that the boys will have a strong and healthy warrior spirit.
|Marine Day falls on the third Monday of July.
Since 1996 it has become a national holiday.
It was founded to pray for the ocean's bounty and to pray for the prosperity of Japan as a seafaring nation.
|Respect for the Aged Day
|People wish the elderly of the nation a long life and thank them for their contribution to society for so many years.|
|Autumnal Equinox Day
|The week centering around this day is known as Higan.
People do almost the same things as they do during Higan in Spring.
|Health and Sports Day
|This is celebrated to promote the mental and physical health of the people
through the enjoyment of sports.
This day was established in commemoration of Tokyo Olympic Games, which began on October 10th, 1964.
|This day was established to stress the importance of science as well as
thank those who have contributed to the advancement of Japanese culture.
On this day the government bestows medals to people who have made significant contributions to cultural progress in Japan.
in honor of=～に敬意を表して
|Labor Thanksgiving Day
|This day was established to provide a day for recognition of the importance of labor and to stress the importance of work in everyone's mind.|
|The Emperor’s Birthday
|The Emperor of Japan does not rule/ but is a symbol of the nation.
On this day/ prayers are offered of his longevity, and the imperial Family, appearing on the balcony of the Imperial Palace, exchanges greeting with the crowd of visitors below.
Everybody has a chance to go and see the Emperor from the garden of the Palace.
in Tokyo, Yokohama ,etc.
in rural areas or countryside, etc.
|Religious rites are held throughout the country in memory of the dead.
According to Buddhist belief, the dead return to their home during this period.
Lanterns are lit and Bon Odori folk dances are offered to comfort the souls.
The festival is celebrated from the 13th to the 15th either in July or August, depending on the area in Japan.
|Shichi-go-san literally means "seven-five-three".
When boys reach five years old and girls reach either three or seven years old, they are dressed and taken to the shrines by their parents to pray for their healthy growth.
Chitose-ame, "thousand-year-candy", is a special candy which is sold for Shichi-go-san.
It is thin, red and white candy, symbolizing healthy growth and longevity.
You can see small children in kimono carrying long papper bags of Chitose-ame and walking happily with their realatives in shrines around that day.
|the winter solstice
around Dec 22nd
Candle Night: 参考サイト
|The winter solstice is the shortest day and the longest night in the northern
In Japan it is around December 22.
It is regarded as an important day when the sun is considered to be reborn because each day gets longer after the solstice.
Actually in Japan, it gets much colder after the winter solstice. So many practices to warm up and take care of ourselves have been passed on since old days.
One of the wide spread practices is taking a bath with "yuzu", a kind of lemon, in a bath filled with hot water. It is said that if you take a yuzu-yu bath on that day, you will never catch a cold during winter.
Another well-known practice is to eat a pumpkin on that day. Pumpkins are full of vitamin A and carotene. They will prevent us from catching cold.