“Yama no hi” or “Mountain Day” is the newest public holiday in Japan, which has been celebrated since 2016 on August 11th. Why 11th August? Well, it’s said to be that the Kanji (Chinese characters used in written Japanese) for “eight”, ⼋, and the number 11 both look like the sides of a mountain. Due to the Tokyo Olympics taking place this year, some holiday dates have been moved about the calendar year. In 2021, it will instead be taking place on the 9th of August.
This day is all about promoting the love they have for mountains as Japanese people have always had a huge amount of respect and appreciation for their history, soundings and way of life. Did you know that Japan now has 16 public holidays they celebrate every year?
Why are mountains important? Mountains are particularly important for the country’s biodiversity, water, clean air, research, cultural diversity, leisure, landscape and spiritual values. The harmony with nature is very much part of Japanese culture, and has been for thousands of years. Why do they celebrate the mountain? This is because they like to celebrate their rich biodiversity, as well as address the threats mountains face .
There aren’t any specific customs during the celebration of Mountain Day, but many people usually celebrate with activities such as hiking, walking and climbing mountains in order to appreciate and connect with them.
Even just a quick search online yields hundreds of mountains dotted all over the landscape, so it’s easier than you may think to find your nearest mountain. Did you know that mountains occupy over 80% of Japan, and the highest mountain in Japan is called Mount Fuji at 12,388 feet!
I find this Japanese holiday “Yama no hi” very inspiring and refreshing, educating generation after generation on how to appreciate and take care of the world and a great mentally and physically rewarding celebration to participate in.
“明けない夜はない” / “Behind every night is a new dawn”