Japan to celebrate Mountain Day

Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi
Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi

Japan to celebrate Mountain Day

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

Though Japan’s Yama-no-hi, or Mountain Day, on Aug. 8 is observed as a national holiday, there is no official celebration.

Mountain Day was legislated in 2014 at the request of the Japanese Alpine Club and various other groups. The National Holiday Act defines it as a holiday to familiarize people with mountains and appreciate the blessings of them.

Mountains play a large role in Japanese culture, as 9.7 million people climb every year, according to the Japan Productivity Center. Roughly 15,000 mountains account for about 70 percent of the Japanese archipelago, according to the Japanese Alpine Club.

Aug. 11 was chosen as it is just before the traditional Obon period (Aug. 13-15), allowing people to take longer leave - something the government has been pushing the hard-working people of Japan to do.

This year, the holiday was moved from Aug. 11 to Aug. 8 to make a three-day weekend with the Olympic Games’ closing ceremony Aug. 8. Since Aug. 8 falls on Sunday, Monday will be observed as the holiday. Employees in Japan will have the day off and government offices will be closed, so plan ahead if you have official business.

Happy Mountain Day!

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