When is Silver Week in Japan?

Fall in Japan Seasonal Events
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Writer’s profile

Mao Goto is a Japanese freelancer who was born in Hayama, Kanagawa prefecture, and raised in Tokyo. Since 2016 she lives in the Taito Ward, home to a lot of Japanese culture hotspots such as Asakusa, Akihabara, and Ueno. She has been interested in the field of English education in Japan and got her Master’s degree in March 2020. A lover of photography, travel, sweets, and cross-stitch. Contact her via Facebook.

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Japan is known for having many national holidays, with a total of 16 holidays altogether. The most famous holiday is Golden Week in May. Golden Week is a famous holiday season in Japan because of all the holidays that fall within this week, such as Midori no Hi (Greenery Day), Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day), Showa no Hi (Showa Day), and so on. However, did you know that there is also a big holiday weekend in September? This consecutive holiday is called “Silver Week” and many Japanese use this time of the year as a chance to go on vacation. This article will feature Silver Week in detail.

When is Silver Week in 2023?

Calender

Silver Week in Japan is a major holiday period in mid-September. The difference between Golden Week and Silver Week is the length of the consecutive holidays. In Japan, a major holiday weekend is defined as a period of five or more consecutive days off. However, the length of Silver Week varies from year to year, making it difficult for it to be considered a major consecutive holiday. For this reason, Silver Week does not arrive every year and is also known as “Platinum Week” due to its rarity. The previous platinum weeks were in 2009 and 2015. The next one is scheduled for 2026.

Unlucky for us, one of the holidays in September is on Saturday in 2023, and it’s only one three-day weekend for Silver Week on September 16, 17, and 18.
In 2024, there are two three-day weekends for Silver Week on September 14, 15, 16 and 21, 22, 23.

What Holidays make up Silver Week?

The Silver Week holidays consist of five days: 敬老の日(Respect-for-Senior-Citizens Day) on the third Monday of September, 秋分の日(Autumnal Equinox Day) on September 23, national holidays, and general holidays on Saturday and Sunday. National holidays in Japan are holidays in accordance with Japanese law, which states that if a weekday falls between two national holidays, that weekday will also be converted into a holiday. In this year’s Silver Week, weekdays fall between Respect-for-Senior-Citizens Day and Autumnal Equinox Day, meaning they will become holidays. If the timing is right, there will be a five-day weekend!

Weather during Silver Week

Autumn in Japan
Autumn leaves

The weather during Silver Week is slightly cooler than in the height of summer during August, with temperatures rarely exceeding 30°C (86°F). For those who don’t like the hot weather of July and August in Japan, Silver Week is the perfect time for you to get outdoors.

Things to do during Silver week

Now that you have some basic knowledge of Silver Week, We’ll introduce several recommended ways to spend the holiday. If you are planning to visit Japan during Silver Week, we hope you will find them useful for your itinerary.

1. Visit a Festival

Nakanobu Nebuta festival
kamiosakiCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Cluster amaryllis

During Silver Week there are many festivals held at popular tourist destinations throughout Japan, and with everyone on holiday, It is a great opportunity to introduce local attractions to tourists. Among the various festivals, we recommend the Manjushage Festival held at Gongendo Park in Satte City, Saitama Prefecture. There are approximately 3 million higanbana (cluster amaryllis) flowers, planted with great care by citizen volunteers bloom simultaneously, creating a bright red carpet throughout the venue. During the Manjushage Festival, a teahouse is open every day, where you can have a delicious cup of tea while enjoying the fantastic view of higanbana flowers.

Information Website: Prefectural Gongendo Park

2. See Early Autumn Foliage

Kiso-komagatake autumn
Sensojiki Cirque view

In this season where the temperature is gradually dropping throughout Japan, the leaves are already getting a beautiful shade of red and yellow in alpine areas. Therefore, Silver Week is the perfect season for viewing the autumn leaves. Kiso-komagatake in Nagano Prefecture is a recommended autumn foliage viewing spot. Kiso-komagatake is a famous peak in the Central Alps, and during this time of year, the whole area of Senjōjiki Cirque turns beautifully red. If hiking is not your thing, don’t worry, a ropeway is also available.

3. Enjoy fruit picking

Strawberry picking
fruit picking

Fruit that have endured the hot August weather are truly delicious. Why not visit a Japanese orchard during Silver Week, as grapes such as Kyoho and Muscat are in season. Their fresh, juicy outer layer and mellow sweetness make for the best flavor. Other recommended fruit in season are pears, which are full of water and offer a refreshing sweetness. Farmers are waiting for you to taste their prized fruit!

4. Tsukimi moon viewing

Tsukimi moon viewing
Sakura moon viewing

The mid-autumn full moon (中秋の名月), which usually occurs in mid September to early October, is known as the full moon of the autumn season. Otsukimi (お月見) is an event to enjoy the Japanese night by viewing the full moon in the cooler months. On this day, it is customary to offer tsukimi dango (dumplings for moon viewing) as a symbol of gratitude for the Japanese crop harvest and to pray for a good harvest in the future. Japanese pampas grass is often offered next to the dumplings and it is believed to protect the crops and the family from disease.

5. Go hiking / camping

Hiking
People camping

If you find the mid-summer heat in Japan to be too much, the Silver Week period is the perfect opportunity to go outdoors. The heat has calmed down and cooler weather has arrived, so you can enjoy camping and hiking in comfort without getting sweaty. As mentioned in the “Autumn Foliage Viewing” section, you can enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves in the alpine areas and fishing in the rivers. It is recommended to enjoy the Japanese autumn in nature with family and friends.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Silver Week is a major autumn holiday in Japan. The mild temperatures during this time of the year make it a very comfortable time to go out and travel, and famous tourist spots are always crowded with people. Why not come to Japan during Silver Week and enjoy the natural beauty of Japan in a pleasant climate? Autumn in Japan has many attractive aspects in terms of foliage, food, etc. It may be a good idea to come to Japan during the Silver Week to enjoy autumn activities.

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