In Japan, in addition to public holidays established by law, there are also anniversaries and many others. There are unique Japanese anniversaries as well as anniversaries on the same date as the rest of the world. This article introduces a compilation of anniversaries that are well-known and often celebrated in Japan.
When is Japan's Setsubun Day? : February 2nd or 3rd
"Setsubun" is one of Japan's yearly customs. It's a day where you drive out the evil and pray for everyone's wellbeing and happiness. Most people sow beans whilst saying "Demon's out, good fortune in". Also, during Setsubun, a lot of people eat something called ehōmaki, which, put simply, is an uncut sushi roll.
When is Valentine's Day in Japan?: February 14th
In Europe and the United States, Valentine’s Day is the day men give presents to ladies. However, in Japan, it is the day ladies confess to men. Chocolates are given out as a present during confession, and this actually originated from advertisements by Japanese sweets makers in order to boost the sales of chocolates. Since then it has become a custom in Japan. It is quite usual that in Japan, PR by companies become everyone’s practice.
When is Hinamatsuri?: March 3rd
During Hinamatsuri, people pray for the health and growth of girls. It is also sometimes known as the "Peach Festival", and people will hang up Hina dolls if there is a girl in their family, they may also decorate using grilled bits of rice cake and eat chirashi sushi (sushi rice in a box or bowl with a variety of ingredients sprinkled on top) or clams during this day.
When is White Day in Japan?: March 14th
White Day, a custom originated in Japan. Originally, it was a day born from the product promotion of a Japanese company, and the idea of returning a month after Valentine's Day was started by confectionery manufacturers and confectionery shops to promote their own products as "a return for Valentine's Day". Before it was named White Day, it was called "Return Valentine", "Marshmallow Day", "Cookie Day", "Flower Day", etc., and each company seemed to decide what to call it and what to give. From there, it eventually became known as "White Day" because the color "white" has a pure image, which is perfect for young people's love.
When is Father's Day in Japan? : The third Sunday in June
In 1980, the board chairman of Japan Men's Fashion Kyōichi Itō was moved by the American tradition of celebrating Father's day, deciding to create Japan's own Father's day committee. After this, the event of celebrating Father's day was undertaken on the 3rd Sunday of June every year.
When is Tanabata?: July 7th
When summer comes around, there are lots of interesting and amazing events all around Japan, but one of them, "Tanabata" receives a lot more attention than the rest. With colorful tanabata decorations, you are able to write your wish on a small piece of paper and place it onto a bamboo tree, eat delicious somen noodles among much, much more! This year you will be unable to visit Japan to experience this event first hand, so we have put together some videos for you to be able to enjoy tanabata from the comfort of your own home. Please check them out below!
When to Send Midsummer Gifts?: Early July to 15th
In Japan, summer gifting is the custom of giving a present to someone you're indebted to (Parents / Work Colleagues / Friends, etc.). It is to show your thanks and ask them for their continued support.
The day itself originates from ancient China during the 15th day of the 1st, 7th, and 10th lunar months as a day to celebrate the faith in the heavenly gods. From within those, the 15th day of the 7th lunar month is one of Japan's many Buddhist-related holidays known as the "Bon Lantern Festival", during this day people would give gifts to the gods, which is said to be where the custom of giving gifts during this time originated.
When is Obon in Japan? : 15th-16th of July or August
Obon is a ceremony to honor the spirits of our ancestors. Every year from July to August, welcoming ceremonies are held in each household and community. It is characteristic that summer festivals and Bon dances are held all over the country during Obon.
When is Disaster Prevention Day in Japan? : September 1st
Japan's land area is about 378,000 km2, which is only 0.28% of the world's land area, but it is a country with many earthquakes and typhoons. Also, being an island nation, it is susceptible to tsunamis when natural disasters occur.
In order to deepen awareness of various disasters, and to facilitate evacuation and minimize damage in the event of a disaster, the cabinet meeting on June 11, 1960 decided to designate September 1 as Disaster Prevention Day, establishing "Disaster Prevention Day". By the way, Disaster Prevention Day is not a public holiday.
When is Pocky Day? : November 11th
Pocky Day was established as a day to spread the joy of sharing Pocky around the world. The shape of Pocky resembles the number 1, so November 11th was designated as Pocky Day. In Japan, November 11th, 1999 (Heisei 11) was recognized by the Japan Anniversary Association as "Pocky & Pretz Day".
When is Christmas in Japan?: December 25th
Even though Christmas is an event of Christian faith, since most Japanese people don’t have any religion, they celebrate whatever event seems interesting! Especially Christmas which is considered a very major event for the Japanese. However, the way of celebrating Christmas in Japan is completely different from Europe! Check the article below for details!
There are others too! List of interesting anniversaries/○○ days in Japan
- January 5th: Strawberry Day
- January 10th: 110 (Police's Emergency Number)
- January 17th: Disaster Prevention and Volunteer Day
- February 2nd: Married Couple Day (November 22nd is Good Couple Day)
- February 9th: Meat Day (Good Meat Day is November 29th)
- February 22nd: Cat Day
- February 23rd: Mt. Fuji Day, Fujimi Day (same day as the current Emperor's birthday)
- March 9th: Thank you day (Sankyu)
- March 10: Sugar Day
- March 27th: Sakura Day
- April 1st: April Fool's Day
- April 6th: Castle Day
- April 22: Earth Day
- 2nd Sunday in May: Mother's Day
- May 16th: Travel Day
- July 7th: Yukata Day (added to Tanabata)
- July 17: Tokyo Day
- July 26th: Ghost Day⁉
- August 3rd: Honey Day
- August 8th: Laughter Day
- September full moon day: Moon viewing (Harvest Moon)
- September 9th: Hot Spring Day
- September 20th: Bus Day (with bus company events), Sky Day (with events at airport)
- October 1st: Coffee Day, Glasses Day, Sake Day, Perfume Day...
- October 10th: Public Bath Day
- November 1st: Dog Day
- November 7th: Nabe Day
- November 15th: Kimono Day
- November 22nd: Good Couple Day
- November 29th: Good Meat Day (with events)
- December 14th: Noodle Day
- December 18th: Tokyo Station Day
- When is Japan's Setsubun Day? : February 2nd or 3rd
- When is Valentine's Day in Japan?: February 14th
- When is Hinamatsuri?: March 3rd
- When is White Day in Japan?: March 14th
- When is Father's Day in Japan? : The third Sunday in June
- When is Tanabata?: July 7th
- When to Send Midsummer Gifts?: Early July to 15th
- When is Obon in Japan? : 15th-16th of July or August
- When is Disaster Prevention Day in Japan? : September 1st
- When is Pocky Day? : November 11th
- When is Christmas in Japan?: December 25th
- There are others too! List of interesting anniversaries/○○ days in Japan