Summer Vacation in Corporate Japan (夏休み)



Who isn’t looking forward to summer vacation with the warmer and sunny weather? National holidays are coming up starting in July, so take advantage of them! Also, check with your company’s HR for summer holiday-related policies.

Kaki-kyuka (夏季休暇)

Literally “summer season vacation,” some companies allocate separate paid holidays for their employees to be spent during the summer months. A 2018 report by the Japanese Ministry of Labour found that approximately 42.9% of companies employ this, and it’s 4.4 days on average. Kaki kyuka is separate from paid holiday (有給). 
Allowing employees to choose when they wish to take a holiday avoids the crowd of people taking off during Obon, which is a high traffic time of year. 

Umi no hi (海の日) – Third Monday in July

Umi no hi (“ocean day”) is a national holiday that falls on the third Monday in July. The purpose is to pay respects to the ocean and its resources, and so many marine-related events happen during this long weekend. 
It commemorates the Meiji Emperor’s voyage in 1876 on the steamship Meiji Maru around northern Japan. It was designated as a national holiday a hundred years later in 1995. 

Yama no hi (山の日) – August 11th

One of the most recently added national holidays, Yama no hi (“mountain day”), was designated in 2016. Similar to Umi no hi, the purpose is for people to appreciate the natural blessings of mountains. This day occasionally falls during the Obon holiday. 

Obon (お盆) – depends on the regional interpretation

Obon is not a national holiday but a Buddhist custom to honor the family ancestors. During this time, the Japanese return to their hometown to visit the family grave, their elders, and relatives. Obon lasts for three days, and there’s no exact date as it follows the lunar calendar, the 10th day of the 7th lunar month, to be precise. Some regions celebrate Obon in July and later August, although it’s usually celebrated around August 15th. 
While it’s not a national holiday, many Japanese companies, restaurants, and facilities close during this time of year to allow their employees to return home.