When Japlanning your trip to the land of the rising sun, one thing many people do not look into is when Japan observes public holidays -- and the other big one: school holidays. Read our guide for the full list of 2014 public and school holidays in Japan!
As for many of us in the world, while we are in festive season, it inevitably means shops closed, as well as many people on holidays, and tourist attractions see increased visits, and sky-high flight prices.
These trends also happen around school holidays and other public holidays, so its best to work your holidays in Japan around these dates, to get yourself the best deals, not only on flights, but also accommodation, which also sees huge price increases around these times.
Now lets take a look at National Holidays for 2014 in Japan.
Most public holidays land around weekends, with the biggest stretch being the start of May, which is known as 'Golden Week' -- arguably the busiest time in Japan for holidays, when many take the whole week off. Steer clear of theme parks and regional tourist hotspots, as they are packed to capacity, and you may face room shortages at local hotels, not to mention the all-time high prices.
- 1st - New Year’s Day
- 13th - Coming of Age Day
- 11th - National Foundation Day
- 20th - Spring Equinox
- 29th - Showa Day
- 3rd - Constitution Day
- 5th - Children's Day
- 6th - Greenery Day (observed)
- 21st - Marine Day
- 15th - Respect for the Aged Day
- 23rd - Autumn Equinox
- 13th - Sports Day
- 24th - Labour Thanksgiving Day (observed)
- 23rd - Emperor’s Birthday
The other big event to try and avoid are the Japanese school holidays, with all children out of school, these are busy times at attractions and regional holiday spots, with Japanese families using this time to make memories with the kids while they're out of school. Again, you will see hotels being much more expensive, and also will find domestic airfares higher.
- Saturday 15th February 2014 - Sunday 23rd February 2014
EASTER SPRING BREAK
- Saturday 5th April 2014 - Monday 21st April 2014
SUMMER HOLIDAY (THE BIG ONE)
- Saturday 5th July 2014 - Sunday 31st August 2014
HALF TERM HOLIDAY
- Saturday 18th October 2014 - Sunday 26th October 2014
- Saturday 20th December 2014 - Sunday 4th January 2014
Although you can still visit places like Tokyo Disney Resort or Universal Studios Osaka and see larger-than-life Christmas celebrations, for the most part, the Japanese do not celebrate Christmas (beyond decorating stores and streets), and it is not a public holiday in Japan, which means that stores and attractions will be open on Christmas day.
Fun fact: for many Japanese families, Christmas dinner is catered by KFC, which has been a tradition for many Japanese dating back to 1974, thanks to the hugely successful "Kurisumasu ni wa kentakki" (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing that KFC launched in Japan back then.
Avoiding traveling in Japan's holidays times will always make your travels less hectic (and usually cheaper). Keep in mind if you also take these tips to your home country too and travel outside peak times back home, you will get better flight prices too.