1st New Year’s Day (gantan): January 1 is the only official new year’s national holiday, but the period (shogatsu) typically runs at least until the 3rd and many businesses only re-open on the 4th or 5th of the month.
12th Coming of Age Day (seijin no hi): Young adults come of age on their 20th birthday – this is celebrated with a holiday called seijin no hi.
11th National Foundation Day (kenkoku kinen no hi)
21st Vernal Equinox (shunbun no hi): This holiday either falls on the 20th or 21st of the month – in 2010 and 2011 this is celebrated on the 21st – the date is determined in February of the preceding year.
29th Showa Day (Showa no hi): This is the birthday of Emperor Hirohito (the Showa ere Emperor). This is sometimes included in “Golden Week” (described below), and simply depends on the day of the week April 29 falls on each year.
3rd Constitution Memorial Day (kenpo kinenbi): Commemorates the day on which Japan’s post-WWII constitution took effect.
4th Greenery Day (midori no hi): This holiday is set aside to encourage people to “reconnect” with nature.
5th Childrens’ Day (kodomo no hi): This national holiday celebrates children. Families with boys will often fly koi (carp) windsocks/streamers at their homes.
May 3, 4, and 5 make up what is known as “Golden Week”, a string of holidays where many vacate Tokyo and other major cities to return to their hometowns or to travel to domestic or international vacation destinations.
20th Marine Day (umi no hi): Celebrates (gives thanks) to the waters that surround Japan.
13th – 15th Obon: Despite this being a “festival”– and not an official national holiday – most businesses close during the period to allow families to return to their hometowns to celebrate their ancestors.
21st Respect for the Aged Day (keiro no hi): Celebration of the elderly.
23rd Autumn Equinox (shubun no hi): This holiday either falls on the 22nd or 23rd of the month – in 2010 and 2011 this is celebrated on the 23rd – the date is determined in February of the preceding year.
12th Health and Sports Day (taiku no hi): Established to celebrate health, sports, and fitness.
3rd Culture Day (bunka no hi): Celebration of Japan’s culture and peace.
23rd Labor Thanksgiving Day (kinro kansha no hi): Day to praise labor and to give thanks to one another.
23rd Emperor’s Birthday (Tenno tanjobi)
31st New Years Eve (omisoka): Omisoka is an official national holiday, but most offices across Japan will close their offices on or soon after December 25.
Under the “Happy Monday” system launched in 2000, if a holiday should fall on a Sunday, the following Monday will become the holiday instead, creating a long weekend.