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Japanese marketing calendar: October – December 2023

A well-designed marketing calendar can be a key to success. Having said so, creating a marketing strategy that works well throughout the year requires marketers to consider multiple factors.

For example, in Japan, there are a variety of seasonal events as well as cultural nuances to the celebration of holidays also celebrated elsewhere.  This means seasonal campaigns that work well in one country may not work well in Japan.

In fact, incorporating local traditions and organizing marketing activities around regional events is a great strategy for creating a marketing calendar for any market. It is important to fully understand the local market and grasp the differences from other markets to do so successfully.

This guide looks at the year’s final months in Japan. With the temperature gauge dropping and the days getting shorter, the period between October and December is a time for end-of-year reflection and preparations for New Year’s Day – one of the most important holidays in Japan.

Want to learn more? 

Have a look at our other Japanese seasonal marketing calendars:

1. January – March →
2. April – June →
3. July – September →

A photo of momiji - Japanese red autumn leaves.

October: exercise, dress-up, and leaf hunting

October in Japan is a beautiful and transitional month, marked by mild weather, vibrant foliage, and various cultural events.

Here’s a summary of what you can expect during October in Japan.

This is an image of October calendar with important dates like Sports Day and halloween

Momiji season 

Just like with pink cherry blossom in spring, Japan is covered in red leaves in autumn. Momiji (red maple leaves) are particularly spectacular during this season.

People participate in momijigari – the ‘red leaf hunt’, a custom of admiring the scenery by walking among the autumn trees, as soon as they start changing colors. This passing beauty of nature has inspired artists and poets for centuries.

It also attracts tourists. Since the pandemic restrictions are lifted, more people will likely be travelling to the best momiji spots around the country this year.

Maple-shaped cakes and deep-fried maple leaf tempura snacks will be available to purchase. Moreover, people may also be taking autumn holidays around the middle of the month. 

Popular keywords:

– momiji in [area name]
– best time to see momiji
– momiji season
– weekly weather forecast

Photo of beautiful red Japanese momiji leaves.

Sports Day

This Japanese national holiday falls on the second Monday of October.

It was first observed in 1966, when it marked the opening day of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. It promotes exercise and an active lifestyle.

Despite being a national holiday, many schools and organisations hold sports-related events throughout the day. Hence, sports equipment, gym memberships, and healthy foods can rise in popularity during this time.

Popular keywords:

– Sports Day outfit/clothes
– Sports Day lunch box recipe
– Sports Day camera

Bridal season

In Japan, many couples decide to get married in October. Since rainfall or hot weather is unlikely, and saying ‘yes’ under the red leaves’ beauty can feel magical.

Wedding venues, bridal stores, and food vendors can undoubtedly expect increased traffic throughout the month until mid-November.

Popular keywords:

– fashion [40s / 50s / men’s]
– popular straightener 
– [brand] straightener
– popular wedding rings
– wedding ring price
– [brand] wedding ring 

A photo of a newly wed couple holding hands and a bouquet of flowers.


Feeling spooky yet? Just like in many countries around the world, Japanese people celebrate Halloween.

It is, however, celebrated differently in each region, and, rather than traditional trick-or-treating, people dress up and take to the streets to party. Manga & anime characters, monsters, TV show & movie heroes are usually among the most popular costumes.

Halloween-themed costumes, make-up and accessories start appearing in stores like Daiso or Don Quijote at the beginning of the month, and many cafes and restaurants release limited-time ‘spooky’ menus. Adding a Halloween-themed product or promotion is a great way to spice up your Japanese marketing calendar.

Popular keywords:

– popular Halloween costumes
– Halloween sweets recipe
– Halloween decorations
– Halloween pumpkin

A photo of a little girl's traditional Japanese hairstyle

November: Winter is coming & 7-5-3 ceremony 

November in Japan indeed marks the transition from autumn to winter, bringing about various changes in the weather, nature, and cultural activities.

Here’s a description of what you can expect during November in Japan.

Japanese november marketing calendar.

Shichi Go San 7-5-3 Ceremony

This is a day when parents celebrate their children, being grateful for their growth and wishing them good luck for the future.

Considered a rite of passage, it is usually for 3- and 7-year-old girls, as well as 3 and 5-year-old boys. During this time, families dress in traditional clothing and visit local Shinto shrines. Kimono shops and rentals, as well as accessories and hair salons, are in high demand during this time. 

Popular keywords:

– 7-5-3 photo studio
– 7-5-3 family clothes
– 7-5-3 kimono rental
– 7-5-3 hair ornament
– 7-5-3 celebration

Photo of a Japanese family of four: mom, dad, and two boys. They are dressed in traditional kimono.

Winter is coming

With winter approaching, people start gearing up for lower temperatures. Therefore, the newest winter fashion and clothing, like coats, are what people will be searching for.

In contrast to the extremely humid rainy season, Japanese winters are quite dry. Humidifiers are frequently at the top of shopping lists for many during this time and are placed in bedrooms and living areas around the house.

Popular keywords:

– humidifier ranking
– humidifier desk
– coat from when
– knit hat
– scarf (how to tie)
– full face mask

End-of-year gift giving

In Japan, people tend to exchange gifts twice a year: o-chugen in summer, as well as o-seibo at the end of the year. O-seibo is usually given between the middle of November and the middle of December.

Gifts are usually given to friends, family, colleagues, or teachers. During this time, a lot of stores prepare special gift sets and arrangements. What’s more, gifts do not need to be expensive – as they symbolise gratefulness and it is the thought and presentation that matter the most. Don’t forget about this tradition when creating a marketing calendar for your brand.

Popular keywords:

o-seibo period
o-seibo ideas
– popular o-seibo

Photo of beautifully packed gift, wrapped in pink paper, with golden ribbon.

Photo of cute christmas decorations on pink background

December: Christmas & New Year

December in Japan is a fascinating and festive month that marks the transition from autumn to winter.

The country is adorned with colourful holiday decorations, and various cultural traditions and celebrations take place. Here’s a summary of what you can expect during December in Japan.

Japanese marketing calendar for December.


The beginning of December undeniably means the peak of Christmas sales and preparations. Like Halloween, although Christmas is not a Japanese tradition, it has become highly popular across the country due to Anglo-American influence.

Christmas sales are a common occurrence, and many brands organize seasonal promotions, just in time for the end-of-year bonus. Make sure to add Christmas campaigns to your marketing calendar.

Christmas markets, red and green decorations, and Santa Claus with his reindeers are now a part of Japanese culture, while winter light festivals and illuminating installations are hugely popular throughout the country.

Moreover, activities visiting Tokyo Disneyland for the Christmas Parade and eating strawberry shortcakes are also popular during this time.

Photo of a festive KFC set

Source: KFC Japan

It is also true that Japanese people order KFC for Christmas dinner. According to the brand, KFC earned a whopping $63 million between 20 – 25th December in 2018. This is due to the brilliant, now legendary, marketing campaign by Takeshi Okawara: Kentucky for Christmas.

Popular keywords:

– Christmas gift
– Christmas recipes
– Christmas food
– Christmas card
– Christmas party
– Christmas Eve

New Year

Once Christmas is finished, the country prepares for New Year’s Day – one of the most important holidays in Japan.

It is time spent with family and many travel back to their hometowns. There is a lot of preparation to enter the new year in the best way possible.

Household deep cleaning, big grocery shopping on New Year’s Eve, meal preparation, and setting up traditional decorations around the entrance are just a few examples.

Osechi ryori is a traditional meal eaten on New Year’s Day. It consists of an assortment of small dishes, each holding a symbolic meaning. While there are people who cook osechi ryori from scratch, many families decide to order osechi ryori – this has to be done in advance at a convenience store, department store or restaurant. 

Popular keywords:

– New Year card
– zodiac illustration
– New Year food recipe
– New Year dish arrangement

Photo of a traditional Japanese new years meal including a variety of dishes.

End-of-year party

Let’s not forget about bonenkai – end-of-year drinking parties. In literal translation, bonenkai means ‘forget-the-year gathering’.

They are usually held among friends and colleagues in the second half of December. While it is a great way to celebrate a year of hard work, it is also a form of Japanese nominication – a part of Japanese business culture that combines drinking & communicating.

Popular keywords:

bonenkai when
bonenkai food
bonenkai party
bonenkai games

Do you need help with crafting a winning marketing calendar?

Contact us at DMFA to find out more about our services and how our bilingual consultants can assist you.

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