Calendar in Tableau - My first visualization

by Elnisa Marques

Today I’m going back to my first Tableau Public viz, that’s right the very first one. For this project in Tableau Public I wanted to combine two things that I truly love, the Japanese culture and the use of Tableau, reason why my first ever visualization was an attempt to create a guide to Japan with locations of places to visit as well as a calendar displaying the events that were interesting to attend when visiting Japan. For the when to visit dashboard, I thought that the calendar would be the perfect choice, as it was something  where I could  combine the visual effect to the possibility to add loads of information offering the audience the chance to interact and explore all the Japanese festivals or “matsuri”. 

That project itself  is a story combining some tourism data with food information, popular folklore beliefs and etiquette rules for your visit to Japan. If you want to have a look to the whole visualization, please pay a visit to my Tableau Public profile at!/, you’ll find a ton of information. 

After searching all the festival dates, I create a data set similar to the one below for each month/year from 2015 to 2019.

japan 1

You will notice that we have a date called” Time Period”, but to create a calendar in Tableau we’ll need Day, Month Year, Week Number and Weekday. The first step will then be to create the calendar and then input the event and count of event.

To make things easy I filter to a single year and month before I dragged any dates to the canvas. By right clicking the date field I got multiple options to choose from, as I wanted it to show month and year combined as a discrete dimension, I selected MY (Month Year – Time Period) and added it to the columns. If you are following the instructions, go ahead and do the same but this time select the weekday.

Japan 2                   Japan 3Japan 4

The next step is to bring week number to rows and day to text all as discrete dimensions as you can see below, it is now starting to look like a calendar. – Have you also noticed how awesome Tableau 10 looks? So sleek!!
Japan 5

On the marks card switch from automatic to square and change the size so that the squares fill the whole space as below. Use “Show Header” to hide unwanted labels and headers.

I had changed the colour of the background already but there’s no need to do that. The next steps will be to add event to the Tooltip and add a count of events to colour. When I first created it I duplicated the field changed it to a measure as count and added it to colour. However, I since learned that by dragging the dimension to detail right clicking and changing to a measure (count) there’s no need to duplicate the field.

Japan 6

The image below shows what I’ve done to the colours. I wanted that for each day with an event to be coloured red and the days where no events take place to show as blue. To do that I selected colour “custom diverging” with 2 steps centred and starting in 1, therefore count of event => 1 “red” else “blue”.

Japan 7

The final dashboard included a map that was being filtered by the calendar as well as a list with names and prefecture of the festivals taking place, I have also added the option for the user to click and see more information on a website using a url action, which I’ll tell you about in another blog. You can notice that some days have a * symbol, I used an annotation to create it and that intended to mark the days where the festivals varied from year to year.calendar japan+event

I’m sure this has picked your interest not only to build a calendar in Tableau but also to visit Japan and attend one of their amazing festivals.


Elnisa Marques

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