Japan is adjusting a lot when it comes to holidays. For instance, the previous Emperor is honoured by the Holiday “Shōwa Day” (昭和の日 Shōwa no Hi). The holiday used to be celebrated as the Emporer’s Birthday till 1989, when the Emperor Shōwa Hirohito died. But Showa Day did not become Showa Day right after his death, it was first Greenery Day (みどりの日 Midori no Hi) and became Showa Day in 2007.
As you can see, Japanese Holidays are not easily understood.
Some rather unusual holiday after Greenery Day, which celebrates nature and being grateful for its blessings, is Marine Day (海の日 Umi no Hi). This blue holiday is celebrated as “a day of gratitude for the blessings of the oceans and for hoping for the prosperity of the maritime nation that is Japan”. Despite Japan being a high-tech country with similar problems as other first-world countries, dealing with pollution, deforestation and others, the nation has a strong connection with nature, as the previous two holidays are already suggesting. To show more affection and protection, a new holiday is coming up: the Mountain Day (山の日 Yama no Hi).
Last year in May the Japanese Diet announced that Mountain Day will be held as a public holiday every August 11 starting next year, in 2016. Supported by the legislator Seishiro Eto and the Japanese Alpine Club 8, the holiday is to provide chances to get familiar with mountains and appreciate blessings from mountains.
If you asked a Japanese, if they are having a field trip into the woods on Greenery Day, whether they go to the beach on Marine Day or if they are planning on hiking in the mountains on a Mountain Day next year, most will probably negate that question. With Japan having only very little paid holidays and many not even making use of them, the high number of public holidays is much appreciated. They ensure that people really get the rest and help avoiding overworking. We are definitely looking forward to the next year’s Mountain Day!