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[2019 Edition] A Guide to Japan’s Public Holidays

During public holidays there tend to be more crowds, hotel prices go up, and it can be hard to get into certain sightseeing areas. So, you can have a more enjoyable and affordable trip to Japan if you plan your trip around avoiding public holidays. With that, here is a guide to all of the public holidays in Japan in 2019.

January - March

During the first part of the year, you have to be most careful about the New Year's holiday, as many stores and other facilities will be closed from January 1st though the 3rd. January 14th (Mon.) is Coming of Age day, so you will probably see some new adults wearing long-sleeved kimonos or suits walking around town.

January:
1/1 (Tue.) - First Day of the Year, 1/14 (Mon.) - Coming of Age Day
February:
2/11 (Mon.) - National Foundation Day
March:
3/21 (Thu.) - Vernal Equinox Day

April - June

Golden Week is the name of a nearly week-long stretch of holidays in the beginning of May each year. This year, however, is special, as Golden Week is being extended to 10 consecutive days from April 27th (Sat.) to May 6th (Mon.) to celebrate the commemoration of the new Emperor of Japan. Sightseeing spots, airplanes, and shinkansen (bullet trains) are expected to fill up, so it would be wise to make your reservations as early as possible if you plan to be in Japan during this period.
On May 5th (Sun.), Children's Day, many zoos, aquariums, and other similar facilities have special discounts, so please make sure to check their official websites ahead of time if you are traveling with children.
April:
4/29 (Mon.) - Showa Day
May:
5/3 (Fri.) - Constitution Memorial Day, 5/4 (Sat.) - Greenery Day, 5/5 (Sun.) - Children's Day, 5/6 (Mon.) - Substitute Holiday
June:
None

July - September

Many people take summer vacation during this period, especially from August 13th (Tue.) to 15th (Thu.) - a holiday called Obon in which many people visit their hometowns to pay respects to the departed. Some stores even close during this period, so keep it in mind along with the official public holidays.
Also, look out for senior discounts and special deals on Respect for the Aged Day on September 16th (Mon.)!
July:
7/15 (Mon.) - Marine Day
August:
8/11 (Sun.) - Mountain Day, 8/12 (Mon.) - Substitute Holiday
September:
9/16 (Mon.) - Respect for the Aged Day, 9/23 (Mon.) - Autumnal Equinox Day

October - December

October and November are the peak season for sightseeing trips due to their comparatively fair weather. If you plan to see the autumn colors, it is best to try to avoid public holidays and weekends as much as you can. Many companies start their year-end vacation around December 29th, so planes and trains will become packed with people traveling to their hometowns around this time. So, make you bookings as soon as possible!
October:
10/14 (Mon.) - Health and Sports Day
November:
11/3 (Sun.) - Culture Day, 11/4 (Mon.) - Substitute Holiday, 11/23 (Sat.) - Labor Thanksgiving Day
December:
None

When Are the Long Breaks During the Japanese School Year?

Hotel, plane, and train prices tend to rise during the break periods for elementary, middle, and high schools in Japan, as many families go on vacation together. In addition to public holidays, please keep the break periods listed below in mind when making your plans!
Spring break:
Roughly March 20 - April 7
Summer break:
Roughly July 20 - August 31
Winter break
Roughly December 25 - January 7

That's it for the public holidays and other times to keep in mind when visiting Japan in 2019. If you know these dates, you can have the most fun and affordable trip to Japan possible, so please use this article as a reference.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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