Ancient Japanese Calendar – Everyday Life Almanac App

Dentsu has announced the release of the “72 Seasons: A year seen through the ancient Japanese calendar” mobile device application developed in collaboration with publisher Heibonsha under their joint project “Beautiful Living Research Lab” that was launched in November 2010.

The free application, which is available in English, is designed to enhance the enjoyment of visitors to Japan, a country in which people’s lives are closely attuned to the seasons.

“72 Seasons” is the English version of the free-of-charge “Everyday Life Almanac” Japanese calendar app for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices which has been downloaded 350,000 times. In the same way as the Japanese app, the English app divides the yearly calendar into the 24 solar terms and 72 seasons that have been used in Japan since ancient times.


The calendar is updated approximately every five days. Designed in the format of a traditional Japanese scroll that unrolls horizontally, the commentary explaining the changes in nature is interspersed with haiku poems and content such as photographs of seasonal food and illustrations that enable people to immerse themselves in the Japanese lifestyle and culture.

It’s a great app for people from outside of Japan to learn more about the country’s seasons, and also for Japanese people who would like to introduce Japan to visitors.

About the 24 and 72 season calendars

Japan has four beautiful seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. The rich expressions of each season color our lives throughout the year, and historically the Japanese have paid special attention to the seasons and their influence on daily life since olden times.

The origins of that can be found in the ancient 24 season calendar. The path of the sun as seen from Earth creates a zodiac, 360 degrees divided into 24 15-degree sections, each one given a name to depict the seasonal changes through the year, with each season lasting just 15 days.


In olden times a lunar calendar was used, based on the waxing and waning of the moon, which meant that the position of the sun and the dates on the calendar would gradually shift out of sync. It is possible that the 24 season calendar was a way to compensate for this, and provide a calendar that satisfactorily depicted the changes in the seasons which matched with daily life.

And beyond that, each season of the 24 season calendar was then divided again into three more, to create the 72 season calendar. Each of these 72 seasons lasts just five days or so, and the names of each season beautifully depict the tiny, delicate changes in nature that occur around us, year in year out.

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