Greenery Day in Japan

When is Greenery Day?

Greenery Day is on May 4, 2022.
It falls on Wednesday.

How many days until Greenery Day?

There are 360 Days left until Greenery Day in Japan.

What is Greenery Day?

Greenery Day or commonly known as ‘Midori no Hi’ in Japan, is a national holiday observed on May 4 every year. This holiday is celebrated in honor of the late Emperor Showa (Hirohito) who was known for his fondness towards plants and the nature. This is the reason why Greenery Day is also called as ‘Arbor Day’ or ‘Nature Day’. Since its establishment back in 1989, this occasion has always been meant to encourage the general public to be more appreciative of the nature and to be grateful for its gifts and blessings. Currently, Greenery Day is an integral part of one of the major holiday period in Japan called the Golden Week. The ‘Golden Week’ is a collection of four national holidays celebrated within a seven-day timeframe.

Origin of Greenery Day in Japan

Greenery Day, which is observed every 4th of May of every year, is the 3rd holiday to be celebrated during the Golden Week (following the Showa Day which is celebrated on April 29 and the Constitution Memorial Day on May 3). Being a public holiday, institutions like schools and government offices, and many companies would suspend operation for this day. However, several other businesses would still remain open during the holiday. These include the convenience stores, restaurants, hotels (which are usually at its peak because of the Golden Week), themeparks, tourist destinations, and others which remain operational to cater the public’s needs.

Prior to 2007, Greenery Day was actually celebrated not on the 4th of May but originally on the 29th of April. Before and up until present, the Japanese always have this practice to celebrate the birthday of the emperor who is reigning in the country, as a national holiday. So when Emperor Showa (Hirohito) ascended the throne back in 1926-1989, April 29 has been celebrated as a national holiday called ‘The Emperor’s Birthday’. Upon his death on January of 1989, his successor and the eldest son in the Imperial family, Akihito, succeeded the throne. Consequently, the holiday for the Emperor’s Birthday was moved to December 23, in accordance to Emperor Akihito’s birthday. At that point, April 29 had supposedly become an ordinary day in the Japanese Calendar. However, the Japanese government decided to keep the Emperor Showa’s birthday a holiday, thus, a new holiday was established on April 29. The Greenery Day is what it’s called. To honor the emperor’s affection towards nature itself, the Greenery Day holiday was created and was first celebrated on April 29, 1989. Although the holiday doesn’t necessarily mention the Emperor’s name to whom it was referenced to, it was still welcomed by the Japanese by arranging some events during its celebration.

Up until 2006, the Greenery Day has been observed in Japan every 29th of April ever since it was established in 1989. By 2007, there has been some amendments made to its celebration and the holiday was moved respectively from April 29 to May 4 instead. Since early 2000, the Japanese government has actually been trying to make a bill for another holiday called ‘Showa Day’ (a day to commemorate the birthday of Emperor Showa/Hirohito) which is to be observed on April 29, on the birthday of Emperor Showa himself. Although the proposed bill had met several resistance for the first few years, after a long period of debate, the bill had finally been passed and by 2007, the Showa Day was first celebrated in Japan on April 29, 2007. On the other hand, the Greenery Day was switched to May 4 instead and was celebrated on that date beginning on that year (2007) up until the present. Currently, both the Showa Day and the Greenery Day had formed part of the country’s famous Golden Week. Showa Day marked the beginning of the Golden Week while Greenery Day is the 2nd to the last holiday celebrated.

Greenery Day Traditions in Japan

There are quite a number of holidays which are observed in Japan, but one of the most popular and highly-anticipated holiday season is the country’s Golden Week. A week wherein four of Japan’s national holidays are clustered within the seven-day period, the Japanese look forward to this not just because of the events associated with these holidays, but also for the fact that they’ll have a long holiday period on this particular week. In Japan, the celebrations for the holidays forming the Golden Week actually vary from person-to-person. While many of the people spend these holidays by traveling and taking vacations, several others would also prefer to participate to the events arranged for the holidays’ celebrations. The Greenery Day, being the 3rd holiday to be celebrated in the Golden Week, is no exception to that. While some people spend this holiday (together with the rest of the holidays in the Golden Week) somewhere far away for a vacation or to visit their family and relatives, many other Japanese would also spend their time participating to the events held on this day. Since this holiday was established in honor of the late Emperor Showa’s love for plants and the nature itself, the events arranged for this occasion are also nature-related.

The attendance of the reigning Emperor and Empress is the main highlight of this holiday. An event is usually arranged by Japan’s National Land Afforestation Promotion Organisation and the hosting prefecture, to celebrate the Greenery Day. During the event, it is expected that the emperor himself would manage a speech which is related to the occasion. This is followed by the tree planting done first by the Emperor and the Empress themselves. Many Japanese from across the country would participate to this tree-planting event to join the celebration of the Greenery Day and to show their appreciation of nature. Aside from the tree planting organized by the National Land Afforestation Campaign, a poster competition would also be held on this day for the attendees, with the nature itself being its subject of focus. Awards will then be presented to those who would win the competition. Cleaning of public places or areas are also observed on this day throughout the country.

Visiting a Japanese tea house or a tea garden is also customary to celebrate the Greenery Day. It is said that the best green tea leaves (called ichibancha) are harvested during the first few weeks of May. Which makes it absolutely possible for the people to have the best green tea if they would visit these tea houses during the Golden Week, or to make it more special, during the Greenery Day. Some people would also spend the day by going to some parks, gardens, or zoos. Some of these places would even offer free entrances to those who would come to visit on this particular day. Ueno Zoo, Rikugien Garden, Hama Rikyu Garden, and Jindai Botanical Gardens are examples of these places, and they are all located within the Tokyo area. Another place worthy of visit especially during the celebration of the Greenery Day is the Tokyo Tower. A symbol of the country’s post-war rebirth, the Tokyo Tower is surrounded and illuminated with bright colors which is characterized by the color of nature. At the same time, while staying at the Tokyo Tower or even in Tokyo’s Shiba Park, you can also observe the different activities held in the area during the celebration of the Greenery Day. These festive activities include: the parades (which are popular for their fancy floats), the street dancing (where performers wear beautiful traditional Japanese costumes), the paper lanterns, and the fireworks-display. Lastly, in terms of food, many of the Japanese would also prepare for a vegetarian meal which is especially cooked for this day as part of the Greenery Day celebration.

Dates of Observance for Greenery Day
Year Date Day Holiday
2022 May 04 Wednesday Greenery Day
2023 May 04 Thursday Greenery Day
2024 May 04 Saturday Greenery Day
2025 May 04 Sunday Greenery Day
2026 May 04 Monday Greenery Day
2027 May 04 Tuesday Greenery Day
Upcoming Japan Holidays
Holiday Date
Marine Day July 19, 2021
Mountain Day August 11, 2021
Respect-for-the-Aged Day September 20, 2021