Japan’s Ocean Day a celebration marking the start of summer vacation

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Japan’s Ocean Day a celebration marking the start of summer vacation

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

Though Japan’s Umi-no-hi, or Ocean Day, on July 23 is observed as a national holiday, there is no official celebration for this unofficial start of the summer season for students.

This interesting holiday was officially recognized in 1995 commemorating the Meiji Emperor’s 50-day excursion from Aomori to Yokohama on July 20, 1876. In modern times, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force fully dress their ships with flags and banners to mark the occasion.

Japan’s National Holiday Act defines Ocean Day as a holiday to give thanks for the blessings of the ocean, to reflect upon the importance of the ocean, and to hope and pray for the nation’s maritime success.

This year, the holiday was moved from July 20 to July 23, to accommodate the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony. Despite the postponement of this year’s games due to COVID-19, the holiday will still be observed on July 23 this year.

Employees in Japan will have the day off and government offices will be closed on this day so plan ahead if you have official business. Happy Ocean Day!

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