#1 Best Guide: Spring Equinox In Japan

Spring Equinox In Japan

If you found your way to this guide, chances are you’ve caught wind of the hype surrounding Spring Equinox in Japan. And let me tell you, it lives up to it and then some! Known as Shunbun no Hi, it has significance as both an imperial and spiritual holiday, with festivities giving thanks for an end to cold weather and praying for a bountiful harvest in warmer months.

So, what exactly goes down for the Spring Equinox celebration in Japan? Well, my friend, prepare your senses for a treat! We’re talking bursts of cherry blossom explosions, tables overflowing with mouthwatering Japanese seasonal delicacies and new opportunities to speak the Japanese language with the locals! Ready? Let’s begin!

Mount Fuji During Spring Equinox In Japan

What Is The Spring Equinox In Japan About?

In essence, it’s a holiday based around the March Equinox, aka that fateful day every year when night and day are perfectly equal in length. Ancient Japanese calendars marked this astronomical event as the seasonal transition from winter to spring.

Originally, it was called Shunki Koreisai and carried important meaning in Shinto tradition. But following WWII, the government was like, “Hmm, church and state should be separate,” when they wrote Japan’s new 1946 constitution. So, the equinox was rebranded as the secular national holiday you see today, focused more on welcoming good harvests than religious rituals.

How Is The Vernal Equinox Day In Japan Celebrated?

If you’re just here for the gorgeous cherry blossom explosion selfies, I don’t blame you! But pour yourself some green tea and settle in if you want the real low-down on what Spring Equinox celebrations in Japan actually mean. I’ll break this down nice and friendly-like into the key traditions you gotta know.

Higan – Buddhist Traditions Of Honoring Ancestors

Out of all the Spring Equinox traditions in Japan, Higan is the time to slow down and get spiritual at ancient temples. Taking place over a whole week, it ties back to the Buddhist view of seasonal transitions, allowing for easy passage between the world of the living and dead.

Higan is also the time when Japanese families visit their ancestors’ graves to clean, tidy, and make small offerings. You’ll see their resting places decorated elaborately with flowers, which may link back to wanting a good harvest. But the ritual is more about care and remembrance, taking time to honor those who came before amidst nature’s renewal.

Shunbun No Hi – Public National Holiday, Family Picnics

If Higan’s the quiet introspective side of spring celebrations in Japan, then cue Shunbun no Hi for the flipside party! We’re talking family bonding under blooming cherry trees, office workers cozying up for hanami picnics, and public festivities galore!

As a visitor, Shunbun no Hi is your access pass into the playful rituals modern Japanese use to embrace each equinoctial turning. Claim your picnic spot early to snag coveted blossom views, browse stalls selling traditional seasonal veggies, and even try your hand at flying a koinobori carp kite or crafting rabbit charms for good fortune!

Children’s Traditions – Bean Throwing, Flag Displays

Keep wandering city streets post-blossom boom, and you’ll spot bean-throwing battles waging between children. Translating as mame maki, it’s thought that flicking these little legumes around drives away lingering bad luck or evil from the old year. Meanwhile, parents whip up cute sushi rice treats tinted pink or green to celebrate spring vibes.

Then there are the carp streamer flags seen dangling everywhere called koinobori. Their shape and vibrant color symbolize strength and success for the future. Samurai warriors originally put them up to guide the lost spirits of children, but now they just look awesome fluttering outside homes and schools!

Places To Enjoy The Spring Equinox Day In Japan

Alright, we’ve covered the historical and cultural context, now where’s the spring party at?! I feel you, when planning any travel adventure, the top question is always where can I join the authentic seasonal action. Well let me dish on the best Spring Equinox celebrations across Japan so you can soak up ancient traditions and carefree cherry blossom vibes in equal measure!


We’re talking bustling Yoyogi park for picnic hangs under lush canopies of pink, then wandering side streets as food stalls tempt you with aromas of street eats like yakisoba noodles and Imagawayaki pancakes. Of course, pop-up beer terraces for casual day drinking have that relaxed local feel, too!


Stand under bamboo water spouts at Kyoto’s UNESCO World Heritage temples as monk rituals carry through the ages. Then, admire demure ikebana flower arrangements symbolizing the elegant arrival of spring. Finish by strolling the winding garden path to contemplate transient beauty, just like Zen scholars and artists.

Rural Areas

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention rural spots boasting glorious swathes of pink-petaled paradises! Hop a local train out of Osaka up the mountainside to enjoy nature’s canvas, pausing only for perfect Instagram shots. Or head north to the glorious spring scenes of Hirosaki castle grounds blanketed with blossoms.

Kiyomizu-dera temple during spring equinox in Japan

Haru (春)

Haru” refers to the spring season marked by warmer weather and blooming cherry blossoms in Japan.

Sakura (桜)

“Sakura” are the beloved pale pink cherry blossoms that bloom each spring, sparking flower-viewing celebrations.

Hanami (花見)

“Hanami” refers to the Japanese tradition of gathering for outdoor parties under blossoming flowers in spring.

Koinobori (鯉のぼり)

“Koinobori” are carp-shaped flags flown to celebrate Children’s Day on May 5th, symbolizing strength.

Mamemaki (豆撒き)

“Mamemaki” is a tradition of throwing roasted soybeans to purge evil spirits and welcome spring.

Ready To Visit Japan?

When you’ve got cherry blossom explosions heralding warmer days, relaxed locals welcoming spring with food and drink under the sun, plus adorable kids playing age-old games – how could you not feel that sense of renewal right to your core?

Want to level up your Japanese? Go download the Ling app now to start grasping the rhythms of this Asian language today. With a few bits of info about the local language, your journey of equinox discovery will be even better. Give it a try now!

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