For westerners, keeping track of the different eras in Japan can be a confusing ordeal. How long is an era in Japan exactly? That depends. Japan’s system of counting years in groups era names creates varying lengths because eras begin each time a new emperor takes the throne. The first year of the new era name is called the nengo.
This is where Hachiju-hachiya comes in. It falls on or about 2 May, eighty-eight days after Risshun. This date had a very practical role in agriculture. Weather in early spring is fickle, but there are actually few instances of frost after May 2nd, and Hachiju-hachiya became a catchy way to notify Edo-era farmers that it was safe to plant rice seedlings as well as to harvest tea.