Japan is a country where maybe 60-70% of the land is mountainous, and due to it being surrounded by the sea, Japanese people have always respected both the mountains and the sea, thanking the Earth for this blessing of being able to live within this nature-filled paradise. On the 11th of August, 2016, Japan's 16th public holiday was created, "Mountain Day". But, why was it established? Why is it so special? We're going to explain everything in this article, read more below!

"Mountain Day" Origin & Why it's Celebrated

Japan is a mountainous region, and Japanese people have respected and been thankful to be surrounded by nature-filled forests and mountains from long ago. "Mountain Day" was birthed with the image of being able to "Become more familiar with the mountains, and be thankful for the blessing of having mountains". This is, compartively, one of the newer public holidays in Japan!

Why did "Mountain Day" Fall on the 11th of August?

In the beginning, there was lots of talk of where to put this public holiday, there were talks of putting it in June because there were no other public holidays, or after "Sea Day" (July's 3rd Monday), however, in the end, they decided that August was best due to people being able to take holidays from work easier thanks to O-Bon, eventually deciding on August 11th. Thanks to this, August now also had a public holiday to celebrate. If you're thinking, "but August has O-bon, right?", well, it's a common misconception that O-bon is a public holiday, it isn't! There are also corporations that don't have any holidays over O-bon.

There are also talks that the reason it was put on the 8th month and 11th day was that in Japanese, the character for the number 8 (八) looks similar to a mountain, and the number 11 looks like two trees standing tall.

Let's get Closer to Nature and Mountains! That's what "Mountain Day" is for!

As shown by Mt. Fuji becoming a World heritage in 2013, mountains are a very important resource for Japan. Thanks to "Mountain Day" being created, various mountains across Japan now have tours, events, and festivals around them! If you're someone who likes outdoor activities such as mountain climbing, then we would highly recommend collecting some information beforehand and visiting Japan around the time of this public holiday!

Moved to other day for Olympic

Due to the 2020 "Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games" being held, the date moved from 8/11 to the day after the closing ceremony on 8/10. Even though the event has been moved to 2021, this was still true for 2020. 2021's "Mountain Day" was also moved to 8/8. In the years after the Olympic Games the Mountain Day has returned to being 8/11 again!

Did they really do this? "Mushroom Mountain Day" is also a thing!

This popular treat from Meiji "Kinoko no Yama" has been a more than 40-year long seller not only in Japan but overseas as well. They seem to have taken advantage of Mountain Day and created a "Mushroom Mountain Day" for their snack! It was even recognized as an anniversary by the Japan Anniversary Association!

Conclusion

During August in Japan, schools enter a break period, and lots of companies have holidays over O-bon which causes many popular sightseeing spots to become crowded with visitors. So, we would highly recommend reserving hotels, trains, and other such things prior to visiting during this period!


If you have an interest in Japanese public holidays, how about checking out this article below?

Everything About Japanese Holidays!

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