Public Holidays in Japan 2020 / Few Holidays Compared with Overseas?


It is often said that “Japanese people work too much,” but are there really fewer holidays apart weekends in Japan compared to overseas? In this article, we would like to explain the Japanese public holidays of 2020 to foreigners working or wanting to work in Japan.

Many people have the impression that who works in Japan work a lot and often work overtime. But what is the actual situation? we will talk about Japanese holidays in comparison with the situation in other countries, so please refer to it.

Countries with more Public Holidays around the World

First, let’s look at the countries with the most amount of holidays around the world.
Below are some of the most holiday-filled countries in the world, along with their representative names.

Thailand (23 Public Holidays)
In Thailand, consumption of alcohol is prohibited on Buddhist-related holidays and election days.
for example, on March 6 the Buddha’s birthday is celebrated, therefore the consumption of alcohol on that day is not allowed.

  • May 1st: National Labor Day
  • May 4th: Coronation Day
  • May 6th: Wisakha Bucha Day

China (21 Public Holidays)
In China per year, they have 3 consecutive holidays. In May they have consecutive holidays for up to 5 days. Also, they have 10 consecutive holidays from January 24 to February 2, which they call “spring festival”, there is also the “mid-autumn festival” which is made up of 8 consecutive holidays. Another well-known holiday is “Labor Day”, which lasts from May 1st to 5th of the same month.

Korea (17 Public Holidays)
Here are some well-known public holidays in Korea.

  • April 30th: Budda’s Birthday
  • May 1st: Labor Day
  • May 5th: Children’s Day

India (17 Public Holidays)

  • April 6th: Mahavir Jayanti (Birth of Lord Mahavira, who’s the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism)
  • April 10th: Good Friday (The day when Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ)
  • May 7th: Buddha Purnima (Buddha’s birthday)
  • May 25th: Id-ul-Fitr (Also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”)

Colombia (17 Public Holidays)

  • April 5th: Palm Sunday (Celebration for honoring Jesus Christ’s victorious entry into Jerusalem)
  • April 9th: Holy Thursday (The day when Christians commemorates the Washing of the Feet and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles)
  • April 10th: Good Friday (The day when Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ)
  • April 12th: Easter also called Resurrection Day (Christian festival which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ)
  • May 1st: Labor Day
  • May 25th: The Ascension Day or Holy Thursday (The Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ)

Reference: Countries with the most Public Holidays around the World
Translated from Japanese to English by Gtalent

Thailand is the country with the most amount of holidays in the world with 23 holidays per year. Then, with just 2 days of difference, China takes second place. Korea, India, and Colombia, which have about 17 days of public holidays, follow in 3rd place, but Japan is also in 3rd place with the same number of holidays as these 3 countries.

Also, when there are consecutive public holidays in China, such as the New Year holidays, the previous Saturday will be lost due to public holidays. Compared to this, Japan weekends are considered as rest despite consecutive holidays, so in fact, Japan has more holidays than other countries.

Japan’s 2020 Public Holidays

Do you know when Japanese public holidays are this year?
From now on, we would like to explain about Japanese public holidays in 2020, including the meaning and origin of why that day became a holiday.

Public Holidays in Spring (March to May)

Let’s take a look at the public holidays on “Spring”, the season when cherry blossoms are famous in Japan. In Japan, there are consecutive holidays in early May. This holiday is called “Golden Week” because it is a long holiday due to consecutive weekends.

Date Name of the Holiday Meaning of the Holiday
3/20 Vernal equinox day The day when the length of the night and the day are the same

Showa day The day when people honor the birthday of Emperor Hirohito, the reigning emperor before, during and after World War II
5/3 Constitution memorial day The day in which the 1947 enactment of the Constitution of Japan is commemorated
5/4 Greenery day The day when is celebrated the birthday of the emperor Showa
5/5 Children’s day The day set aside to respect children’s personalities and to celebrate their happiness
5/6 Observed Holiday Constitution memorial day observed

Public Holidays in Summer (June to August)

Next, let’s take a look at the Japanese public holidays in summer, where many fireworks festivals and festivals are held.

Date Name of the Holiday Meaning of the Holiday
7/23 Marine day also know as Ocean day The day to show appreciation for the oceans
7/24 National Sports day (old name: Physical Education Day) A holiday commemorating the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games
8/10 Mountain day The day to honor and give thanks to the blessings of the mountains

※”Physical Education Day” has been the second Monday of October so far, and the day when it is celebrated will not change even after being renamed to “National Sports Day”.
However, only due to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, July 24 will be the National Sports Day.

※Mountain Day was originally a holiday celebrated on August 11, but like the National Sports Day, this holiday has been moved to another day due to the Tokyo Olympics. But from 2021 the holiday will return to its previous date.

Public Holidays in Autumn (September to November)

“Autumn” in Japan is a climatically comfortable season. It is also recognized overseas as an owner of delicious seasonal food and beautiful scenery colorfully colored with autumn leaves.
The public holidays of this season are listed below

Date Name of the Holiday Meaning of the Holiday
9/21 Respect for the aged day A day celebrated annually to honor elderly citizens
9/22 Autumn equinox day The day when the length of the night and the day are the same
11/3 Culture day A public holiday held with the purpose to promote culture, arts, and academic endeavor
11/23 Labor Thanksgiving Day A public holiday held to commemorate labor and production and give one other thanks.

Public Holidays in Winter (December to February)

It’s the last season, but it doesn’t mean they’re not public holidays in it. The table below summarizes public holidays in the “Winter” of Japan.

Date Name of the Holiday Meaning of the Holiday
1/1 New Year’s Day The day when people celebrate the beginning of a new year
1/13 Coming of Age Day The day when Japanese youth officially become adults
2/11 National Foundation Day The day when is celebrated the mythological foundation of Japan and the accession of its first emperor, Emperor Jimmu
2/23 Emperor’s Birhtday The day when in celebrated the birthday of the Emperor Naruhito
2/24 Observed Holiday Emperor’s Birthday Observed

Also, there is a website where the Cabinet Office provides information about Japanese holidays, so please check it out.


From an overseas perspective, the image of “Japanese people overworking” might be established, but this is not because there are not so many holidays. It might be because the number of used paid holidays in Japan are extremely low compared to other countries.

In recent years, many companies have been able to use paid holidays and reduce overtime hours by promoting this work style. It is not so far till Japan reaches the point where the rate of using paid holidays became similar as overseas countries do, and Japan, which has many holidays, may become one of the countries with the most holidays in the world.

It would be great if you could read the article about Japanese holidays that we introduced earlier this time and become more interested in Japanese culture.