Japanese calendar


Japanese calendar types have included several of official and unofficial systems. At present, Japan uses the Gregorian calendar and also the Japanese era name system.[1]

Jōkyō calendar published in 1729. Exhibit in the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, Japan.



Japan has more than one traditional system for counting years,[2] including

Since the Meiji period, Japan has used the Western Common Era (Anno Domini) (西暦, seireki) system.[6]

In Japan today, the old Chinese calendar is rarely used. The system of counting years from the reign of Emperor Jimmu has been abandoned.[7]

Annual holidays in Japan's calendar

Flags decorated like koi fish (koinobori) are common on Children's Day[8]

The Japanese calendar has yearly holidays and traditional events. Some of these preserve ancient customs.[9]

The names and dates of some of Japan's national holidays have changed over time.

Date English name Official name Romanization
January 1 New Year's Day[10] 元日 Ganjitsu
2nd Monday of January Coming of Age Day[11] 成人の日 Seijin no hi
February 11[12] National Foundation Day[10] 建国記念の日 Kenkoku kinen no hi
February 23 The Emperor's Birthday[10] 天皇誕生日 Tennō tanjōbi
March 3 Girls' Day[13] 雛祭の日 Hinamatsuri
March 20 or March 21 Vernal Equinox Day[10] 春分の日 Shunbun no hi
April 29 Shōwa Day[11] 昭和の日 Shōwa no hi
May 3 Constitution Memorial Day[10] 憲法記念日 Kenpō kinenbi
May 4 Greenery Day[11] みどり(緑)の日 Midori no hi
May 5 Children's Day[10] 子供の日 Kodomo no hi
3rd Monday of July Marine Day[10] 海の日 Umi no hi
3rd Monday of September Respect for the Aged Day[10] 敬老の日 Keirō no hi
September 23 or September 24[12] Autumnal Equinox Day[10] 秋分の日 Shūbun no hi
2nd Monday of October Health-Sports Day[10] 体育の日 Taiiku no hi
November 3 Culture Day[10] 文化の日 Bunka no hi
November 23[12] Labour Thanksgiving Day[10] 勤労感謝の日 Kinrō kansha no hi


  1. "Calendar" at Japan-guide.com; Bramsen, William. (1880). Japanese chronological tables, p. 25.
  2. Clement, Ernest W. (1902). "Japanese Calendars," in Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Vol. 30-31, p. 3.
  3. Bramsen, pp. 5-11.
  4. Bramsen, p. 11.
  5. Bramsen, pp. 2-5.
  6. Bramsen, p. 25.
  7. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Calendar" in Japan Encyclopedia, pp. 98-99.
  8. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Koi-nobori" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 544.
  9. Nakamura, Akemi. "National holidays trace roots to China, ancients, harvests," Archived 2012-10-18 at the Wayback Machine Japan Times. April 8, 2008; retrieved 2012-2-21.
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 Brown, Ju. (2006). China, Japan, Korea: Culture and Customs, p. 68.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 InfoMapJAPAN, "Japanese National Holidays/Traditional Events" Archived 2012-01-25 at the Wayback Machine; retreieved 2012-2-21.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "Japan," Catholic Encyclopedia (2009); retrieved 2012-2-21.
  13. Hinamatsuri at About.com Archived 2009-10-10 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2013-3-6.

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