Posted on 12th Aug 2019 by Bob Heffill
Today, the 12 August, is Mountain Day (Yama no Hi) in Japan. It’s one of no less than fifteen national holidays observed annually: New Year’s Day, Coming of Age Day, National Foundation Day, Vernal Equinox Day, Showa Day, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day, Children’s Day, Marine Day, Mountain Day, Respect for the Aged Day, Autumn Equinox Day, Health Sports Day, Culture Day, and Labour Thanksgiving Day.
Mountain Day was established in 2014, and was first observed in 2016 following revisions to the Public Holiday Law in January of that year. Prior to this, the latest holiday which had been added to the calendar was Marine Day, twenty years earlier in 1996. Coinciding with the traditional O-bon festival held in mid-August, this is one of the main holiday periods in Japan. With temperatures soaring to 40°C, daily life in the cities in particular becomes unbearable, forcing folk to head for the seaside or mountains.
Introducing more public holidays is one aspect of government policy aimed at encouraging people to take holidays and work less!
When planning a trip to Japan, it’s worth checking out when these holidays are, and trying to avoid them if you can. Roads and the railways are often heavily congested, hotels put their prices up, and tourist spots can become even more crowded than usual. Golden Week in early May is definitely one to avoid if you can. Golden week is when Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day, and Children’s Day, are observed on successive days – normally the 3rd, 4th, and 5th May. Many people add a day or two to make it a week’s holiday.
Public holidays dates (2019) in Japan can be found here:
‘Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.’