Silver Week in Japan

Sep 17th, 2009 | By | Category: Events

All that glitters is not gold, in this case it’s silver and the name of the newest grouping of holidays on the Japanese calendar.  Golden Week in Japan takes place in late April or early May each year and, like Silver Week, it incorporates a number of national holidays into a short period.  Both weeks are a popular time to travel and many businesses close entirely so that their owners and employees can travel about Japan or internationally.


The media have dubbed the holiday “Silver Week” in honor of the seniors who will be honored on the first national holiday of the week, Keirou-no-hi, which by quirk of the calendar falls on a Sunday this year.  The Happy Monday Law enacted in 2000 dictates that any holiday that falls on a Sunday will be celebrated on the following Monday and that any day that falls between two national holidays a holiday itself .

In 2009, Silver Week starts at the close of business on Friday, September 18th and runs through Wednesday the 23rd.

Japanese National Holidays During Silver Week:

imageSeptember 21st– Respect for the Aged Day (Keiro no hi)
A relatively new national holiday in Japan, designated as such in 1966, there are no long standing customs associated with the day but with the rapidly “silvering” or aging of the Japanese population it is likely that the holiday will gain significance over time.
September 22nd – Kokumin no kyujitsu
Part of the Happy Monday system that automatically makes the day that falls between two national holidays a holiday itself.
September 23rd – Autumn Equinox Day (Shubun no hi)
Celebrating the turning of the seasons, many people head back to their hometowns and spend a portion of the Shubun-no-hi, with is also celebrated each spring, tending to the graves of their ancestors according to ancient Buddhist tradition.

Silver week is not an annual occurrence, in fact the next time that Japan will celebrate this week will be in 2015!

It might be a good time to visit the silver sand of Ginkakuji in Kyoto (pictured above right) – one of many stunning examples of Zen Gardens in Japan.

Image Credit:   Flickr, heal us & Ginkakuji Temple – Silver Pavilion – Kyoto

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  1. Hmm, maybe the Tuesday won’t be such a good day to go to Yokohama and Ueno afterall - I didn’t realize Happy Monday extended to Tuesdays!

  2. I wish Korea would pass a similar law. We lose any holiday that falls on a Saturday or Sunday as far as extra time off goes.

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