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Japanese calendar facts for kids

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

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.


The lunisolar Chinese calendar was introduced to Japan via Korea in the middle of the sixth century. After that, Japan calculated its calendar using various Chinese calendar procedures, and from 1685, using Japanese variations of the Chinese procedures. But in 1873, as part of Japan's Meiji period modernization, a calendar based on the solar Gregorian calendar was introduced. In Japan today, the old Chinese calendar is virtually ignored; celebrations of the Lunar New Year are thus limited to Chinese and other Asian immigrant communities.

Annual holidays in Japan's calendar

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

Flags decorated like koi fish (koinobori) are common on Children's Day
This mural on the wall of subway station in Tokyo celebrates Hazuki, the eighth month

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

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Calendario japonés para niños

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Japanese calendar Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.