Japanese New Year Holidays

In Japan, the period from the end of December through the first three days of January is called the Year-End and New Year holidays, and many companies will be closed during this period. Cultural facilities and government offices will be closed as well as commercial facilities such as department stores and restaurants. Children also have winter break from around Christmas until around January 7th.

When Is the New Year Holiday?

Most companies will be closed for the New Year Holiday for 6 days from December 29th to January 3rd. If a holiday happens to precede or proceed the weekend (depending on the year), the number of holidays will increase. December 28th is usually the last day of work for the year which is called “shigoto-osame”, and the first day of work for the new year is called “shigoto-hajime”.

Are All Facilities Closed on New Year’s Day?

Most commercial facilities like department stores and restaurants are open through December 31st and some of them will be closed for New Year’s up to around January 3rd. Check their business schedule in advance if you plan to visit these places during the holidays as the schedule varies depending on the facility. Be sure to check the winter holidays of the facilities you often visit, such as supermarkets and drugstores. Public facilities including libraries and city halls will be closed during the Year-End and New Year holidays.

Customer service counters at post offices and banks will also be closed from December 31st through January 3rd. Plan ahead if you need cash as ATM may not be available for money withdrawal during this period.

Places to Visit During New Year’s Holidays

In Japan, some people go to visit a temple on New Year’s Eve and ring the New Year’s Eve bell. When the new year begins, there is a custom of going to shrines to pray for health and safety for the coming year. Therefore, temples and shrines from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day can often be visited throughout the day.

It may be a good idea to check what you need and prepare ahead of time, so that you can spend the Year-End and New Year’s holidays without any troubles.

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