Overview: Understanding Japan's Major Holidays for a Smoother Travel Experience

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To enhance your visit to Japan, we're providing a quick guide on the timing and unique aspects of the country's major holidays.

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Holidays and long weekends vary across the globe, and it's common for people to use these breaks for travel.Japan celebrates several significant holidays, each with its own distinct flavor.Tourists unfamiliar with these occasions might find the schedule perplexing.

By acquainting future visitors with Japan's key holidays, we aim to facilitate a more enjoyable and seamless travel experience.

New Year Holidays

Photo: Photo AC<br>
Photo: Photo AC

Time of Year:
 End of December (around the 29th) to early January (around the 7th).

 These holidays mark the transition from the end of one year to the beginning of the next.
It is common for businesses to close from the end of December through the beginning of January.
Many Japanese take this time to be with their families, often traveling back to their hometowns or visiting relatives, which can lead to congested travel at the start and end of the holiday period.

 While some major department stores and chain outlets remain open (often with reduced hours), smaller independent shops typically shut down.
Many tourist attractions also close during this time.
On the other hand, around mid-December is the year-end party season, and December 24th and 25th are Christmas, so restaurants are often crowded.

However, restaurants can be particularly busy in mid-December due to the year-end party season, as well as on December 24th and 25th for Christmas celebrations.

Golden Week(GW)

Photo: Photo AC<br>
Photo: Photo AC

・Time of Year:
End of April (around the 27th) to early May (around the 5th).

Golden Week features a series of national holidays spanning from the end of April to the beginning of May, creating an extended break.
During this time, it's common for businesses to shut down.

The holiday period sees a surge in domestic travel, making all tourist destinations across Japan exceptionally busy.
Consequently, transportation networks are overwhelmed daily, leading to fully booked accommodations that often come at a higher price.
While retail stores and restaurants remain open, expect them to be bustling with people.

Obon Holiday

Photo: Photo AC<br>
Photo: Photo AC

・Time of Year:
Mid-August (around the 13th to the 16th).

The Obon holiday is a traditional period dedicated to honoring and making offerings to ancestors.
It's common for people to visit their ancestors' graves during this time.
Additionally, many businesses take this opportunity for a summer break, closing their doors.

With many Japanese returning to their hometowns to pay respects at family graves, tourist spots—particularly those near water like beaches and rivers—see an increase in visitors and tend to be more crowded. Expect transportation to be particularly busy as well.

While retail stores and restaurants remain open, expect them to be bustling with people.


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When planning your trip to Japan, choosing the right time to visit can greatly enhance your experience.
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