Public or National holidays in Japan are as popular here as they are anywhere else. The “biggest” holiday in Japan is New Years, and the country shuts down for several days as people take time off to spend time with their families and relax. Generally, the country (including banks, restaurants, and ATMs!) will close from around 12/30 until 1/3, or 5 days (not official holidays, but custom).
The next most popular would be “Golden Week,” which consists of four national holidays (Shōwa Day, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day, and Children’s Day) stretching between late April and early May.
More info on the BIG holidays
Here is a list of public holidays in Japan, and at the bottom, you can find a Google calendar that will give you exact dates for “floating holidays” that fall on say, the 3rd Friday of the month,” etc.
February 23 – The birthday of the reigning emperor has been a national holiday since 1868.
January 1 – New Year’s Day marks the beginning of Japan’s most crucial holiday season, the New Year season (正月 Shōgatsu), is generally the first one, three or seven days of the year. Though not prescribed by law, many workplaces are closed from December 29 to January 3.
Second Monday of January – Coming of Age Day is a day to congratulate and encourage people who have reached the age of maturity (20 years old) during the year. Cities and towns throughout the nation hold ceremonies for these people.
February 11 – Foundation Day is a day to reflect on the establishment of the nation and to nourish a love for the country.
Around March 20 – Vernal Equinox Day was established as a day for the admiration of nature and the love of living things.
April 29 – This national holiday was established in 2007 as a day to reflect on the events of the Shōwa period. Shōwa Day marks the start of the Golden Week holiday period.
May 3 – This national holiday was established in 1948 to commemorate the day on which Japan’s postwar constitution took effect. Constitution Memorial Day falls during Golden Week.
May 4 – This national holiday is celebrated as a day to commune with nature and be grateful for its blessings. Greenery Day falls during Golden Week.
May 5 – Established in 1948, this national holiday is a day on which to esteem the personalities of children and plan for their happiness. It is on this day that the Japanese equivalent of the Dragon Boat Festival (端午の節句 Tango no Sekku?) is held. On this day, and for some time before it, families who have a boy in their home may fly koinobori and decorate their homes with armor or samurai dolls. Children’s Day marks the end of Golden Week.
Third Monday of July – This national holiday was established in 1995 (and first held in 1996) as a day of gratitude for the blessings of the oceans and for hoping for the prosperity of the maritime nation that is Japan.
August 11 – Created in 2014, Mountain Day is a public holiday celebrated every August 11 to provide “opportunities to get familiar with mountains and appreciate blessings from mountains.”
Third Monday of September – This national holiday was established in 1966 as a day to respect the elderly and celebrate long life.
Around September 23 – This national holiday was established in 1948 as a day on which to honor one’s ancestors and remember the dead.
Second Monday of October – This national holiday was established in 1966 as a day on which to enjoy sports and cultivate a healthy mind and body.
November 3- This national holiday was established in 1948. It commemorates the November 3, 1946 announcement of the Constitution. It is recognized as a day to celebrate peace and freedom and promote culture.
November 23- This national holiday was established in 1948 as an occasion for praising labor, celebrating production, and giving thanks. Before the establishment of this holiday, November 23 was celebrated as an imperial harvest festival called Niiname-sai (新嘗祭).