Greenery Day became a Japanese holiday in 1989 when it was meant to replace Shōwa Day after the death of the former emperor Shōwa that same year. From 1989 till 2007, it was observed on 29 April, but when Shōwa Day returned in 2007, Greenery Day was moved to 4 May.
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Greenery Day is a part of Golden Week, which is the great holiday season at the beginning of consistently warm weather in Japan. Golden Week includes four major holidays in the space of one week and is a time when most families go on vacation.
Greenery Day is meant to bring attention to the greening up of Japan each year and to the importance and blessings of nature. The sitting emperor Naruhito gives a Greenery Day speech each year, and people then go out and plant trees. There are also parades and decoration of public streets with colourful paper lanterns. Some people do some gardening, visit a local park, or spend time hiking or strolling out of doors.
As the first (and best) harvest of green tea leaves occurs around Greenery Day, you will see many people stopping off at local tea houses this time of year to enjoy some super-fresh green tea.