If you’ve been reading our little series on the national Golden Week holiday period, you’ll already know a little about Midori no hi (Greenery Day).

The first Greenery Day was celebrated on April 29, 1989 after the death of the Showa Emperor in January the same year. This date was originally to celebrate the Emperor’s birthday but after his death the holiday was renamed Greenery Day after the Showa Emperor’s fondness of nature.

In 2007, the government decided to rename the April 29th holiday “Showa Day” which was so named for people to remember the various events of the Showa era and apply them to the future of the country. In the Showa era, there were many historical events such as the war and the Tokyo Olympics. After the war, the country achieved remarkable economic growth, and it can be said that it was truly a turbulent time. The purpose of the holiday is to remember the Showa era, when Japan underwent major changes, and to be grateful for the present and to think about the future.

This change meant the government had to come up with another date to celebrate Greenery Day. Originally, May 4th was not a public holiday but was sandwiched between two national holidays, May 3rd (Constitution Day) and May 5th (Children’s Day), and referred to a “stepping-stone holiday,” which most people took as part of the national GW holiday week. With the change of Showa Day to April 29th Greenery Day was moved to May 4th.

Greenery Day is a day to appreciate, celebrate and enjoy nature and the Greenery Thanksgiving Festival takes place from April 15 to May 14 each year.  During this festival, there are two main events that are attended by a member of the royal family: a ceremony to present the “Green Culture Award” and present seedlings to forestation groups, and a “Festival to Communicate with Greenery” to convey the appeal of forests and trees to citizens. There are also a variety of festivals and events held throughout Japan during the year including the National Tree Planting Festival, which takes place each Spring and is attended by the Emperor & Empress.

When you visit densely populated cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, it’s easy to think that there is little greenery left in Japan but nearly 70% of Japan is still covered by forests.  Talk to our consultants about exploring some of Japan’s untapped forests and celebrate Greenery Day in Japan!