Showa Day in Japan

When is Showa Day?

Showa Day is on April 29, 2021.
It falls on Thursday.

How many days until Showa Day?

There are 54 Days left until Showa Day in Japan.

What is Showa Day?

Showa Day or commonly known as ‘Showa no Hi’ by the Japanese, is a national holiday celebrated every 29th of April every year in Japan. This holiday is observed to commemorate the birthday of the late Emperor Hirohito (more commonly known as Emperor Showa after his death) who was born on April 29, 1901. Showa, which is the word used to describe the whole era of Hirohito’s reign (1926-1989) means the ‘enlightened peace’. Showa comes from the two kanjis (Japanese alphabet) ‘Shou’ which means shining or bright and ‘Wa’ which means peace. Showa Day actually marks the beginning of the Golden Week, a series of national holidays in Japan within a seven day period. And although many businesses including hotels, bars, restaurants, convenience stores, shops, supermarkets, and tourist attractions which are open on this day, government offices, public buildings and many other companies would temporarily close down for the Golden Week’s holidays beginning on Showa Day.

Origin of Showa Day

In Japan, it is part of their tradition to celebrate the birthday of whoever emperor is currently reigning in the country. This holiday is called the Emperor’s Birthday. So when the emperor changes, so does the celebration for the Emperor’s Birthday, since the date of this holiday is directly dependent on the birthday of the reigning emperor. Meaning, when Emperor Showa (Hirohito) was reigning in the past from 1926-1989, April 29 was celebrated as a holiday called the Emperor’s Birthday. Come January 7 of 1989, following the events of his death, the 29th of April is no longer celebrated as the Emperor’s Birthday since a new emperor (Emperor Akihito, eldest son of Emperor Showa) succeeded the throne and thus, making Akihito’s birthday the new holiday.

By then, a new holiday was established instead on the late Emperor Showa’s birthday. April 29 was renamed to become another holiday which is called the ‘Greenery Day’, a holiday which is also part of Japan’s Golden Week (series of national holidays). The newly-established holiday was still in reference to Emperor Showa though. In honor for his love for the plants and nature, the Greenery Day holiday was created, thus, making April 29 to remain as a public holiday. Since then, the celebration for the Greenery Day is held every 29th of April every year up until the year 2006. By 2007, the bill to rename April 29 as the Showa Day (which has been going on since 2000), has been passed and consequently, the Showa Day has finally been established. The Greenery Day holiday on the other hand, was moved to a new date instead, on May 4 to be specific. Since then, both holidays have become part of the Golden Week and have been celebrated on their corresponding dates up until present.

Showa Day Traditions in Japan

Each year, the Japanese has always anticipated the coming of the Golden Week. Aside from the fact that they would have a long holiday period, many leisure activities are also observed during these days. The Showa Day, being the first holiday to be celebrated among all the national holidays included in the Golden Week, is actually a mixture of events. While some of the people are used to doing leisurely activities to spend this holiday, other Japanese would prefer to participate to events which are actually close to the purpose of why this holiday was celebrated. It is said that encouraging the general public to look back and reflect on what had happened during the 63 years of Emperor Hirohito’s reign, is the primary reason why this holiday was established. Hence, during the Showa Day, a lot of lectures which focus on the discussions of the Showa Era and the history of the WWII are arranged for the public to attend to. Those who are interested of listening to these stories would likely participate to these events. There are also some who would visit the National Showa Memorial Museum to learn more about the happenings of the country’s history, specifically during the showa era. For others, a visit to the late Emperor Hirohito’s tomb which is located in Hachioji, Tokyo is also another way to celebrate the Showa Day.

While a number of Japanese would love to take part on the above-mentioned events on this day, many others would also like to take this opportunity to travel instead. Some opt to travel domestically while others would go abroad, considering that they’ll have a long holiday period because of the Golden Week. Traveling has always been one of the customary practices the Japanese do at this time. In fact, on 2019, 35% of the country’s population had traveled during the Golden Week as per the records from the Travel Voice Japan. These travels are usually booked/arranged prior to April 29. That way when Showa Day comes (which marks the beginning of the Golden Week), they can travel as soon as possible. These travels are basically done so the people can reunite with their families and friends, or just so they can relax or take a vacation. Thus, hotels, tourist attractions, sightseeing spots, and even the modes of transportation like planes,trains, and buses are expected to be especially crowded starting on the Showa Day up until the end of the Golden Week.

Although many Japanese would normally decide to travel in or outside the country prior to April 29 for the holidays, there are also others who would rather stay in their localities. These people would likely celebrate the holiday in their local areas. Some of the events observed locally during the Showa Day include the shrine visits, the hanami (flower-viewing), the picnic parties in the parks (which is done together with the family and friends), the street dancing (wherein performers are seen wearing traditional but colorful clothes), and even going to the movies is part of the Japanese traditions to celebrate the Showa Day. Technically, movie theaters are expected to be really crowded on this particular day as well.

Dates of Observance for Showa Day
Year Date Day Holiday
2021 April 29 Thursday Showa Day
2022 April 29 Friday Showa Day
2023 April 29 Saturday Showa Day
2024 April 29 Monday Showa Day
2025 April 29 Tuesday Showa Day
2026 April 29 Wednesday Showa Day
Upcoming Japan Holidays
Holiday Date
Spring Equinox Day March 20, 2021
Showa Day April 29, 2021
Constitution Day May 03, 2021