Understanding Japan’s Silver Week ( National Holidays ) : A Guide for Tourists

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Silver Week is a holiday period in September that encompasses two public holidays: Respect for the Aged Day and the Autumnal Equinox Day.

Due to the Happy Monday System, Respect for the Aged Day is fixed on the third Monday of September.

When the Autumnal Equinox falls on a Wednesday, the Tuesday in between becomes a substitute holiday, resulting in a five-day consecutive holiday.

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History

The term “Silver Week” gained popularity in the media in 2009 when this five-day holiday phenomenon occurred.

However, there are theories suggesting that the term had been in use even before 2009.

It’s important to note that Silver Week doesn’t always mean a five-day break.

If the Autumnal Equinox falls on a weekend, it results in a three-day holiday.

Moreover, if the Autumnal Equinox is on a Monday, the Tuesday between Respect for the Aged Day and the equinox won’t be a holiday.

Silver Week often coincides with the autumn travel season, leading to a surge in domestic and international travel.

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A Guide for Tourists

In 2023, Silver Week spans from September 16th (Saturday) to September 18th (Monday).

Respect for the Aged Day is on September 18th (Monday), and the Autumnal Equinox Day is on September 23rd (Saturday).

While this year’s Silver Week is slightly shorter than usual, tourist spots are expected to be crowded.

It’s advisable to plan ahead by checking hotel availability, train and bus schedules, and making necessary reservations.

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