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Health and Sports Day

Health and Sports Day 2020 and 2021

Health and Sports Day in Japan is observed every second Monday of October. This holiday is intended to encourage appreciation of and participation in sports and the following of an active lifestyle. The date is based on the 1964 Summer Olympics, which were held in Tokyo.

YearDateDayHoliday
202024 JulFriHealth and Sports Day
202111 OctMonHealth and Sports Day

The holiday was first celebrated on 10 October in 1966, but in 2000 the date was changed. The month of October was unusual for a Summer Olympics, but it was held then that year to escape Japan’s rainy season.

There are numerous school and business based field days put on all across Japan on Sports Day. These consist of both fun and “serious” events. For example, attendees will compete in sprints, the long jump, and other track and field events. But they will also participate in tug of war, rugby, sack and relay races, and obstacle course challenges. Some will also make makeshift stretchers out of bamboo poles and blankets and race across a field carrying their teammate.

In the morning, a parade with a local marching band normally kicks off the day, followed by the playing of the national anthem and the raising of the Japanese flag. Public speeches will be made by politicians, and “stretching music” will be played on the radio all day.