Sports Day, or Taiiku no Hi (体育の日), also called Health and Sports Day, is a national holiday held on the second Monday of October, which promotes physical and mental health.
The first Sports Day was held on 10 October 1966, two years after the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which was the origin for this holiday. This day continued to be held on 10 October until 2000, when it changed to the second Monday of October.
On Sports day, most schools and other communities hold a sports festival, or undo-kai (運動会), which consists of a variety of activities such as the 100 meters sprint, 4 × 100 meters relay, or even three-legged races. At kindergartens, there are also more laid-back activities such as ball-toss, or tama-ire (玉入れ), which consists of two teams who throw small balls into a basket on a high pole.
The festival usually starts around 8:30~9:00 in the morning, and ends around noon. Some festivals can continue throughout the day.
Date of the Autumnal Equinox for the coming years:
2018 → 8 October
2019 → 14 October
2020 → 12 October