Behind the Great Wave at Kanagawa by Hokusai
When is Marine Day ?
Marine Day, also known as Ocean Day, Sea Day or 'Umi no hi' only became a nationally recognized holiday in Japan in 1996.
Since 2003, it has been celebrated on the third Monday in July.
Before 1996, it was known as Marine Memorial Day, and was not a national holiday.
Marine Memorial Day was established in 1941 to mark the anniversary of the 1876 return of the Meiji Emperor to the Port of Yokohama, on the two-masted topsail schooner Meiji-Maru, from a tour of the Tohoku and Hokkaido regions.
Did you know?
Meiji-Maru was built in Scotland and is the oldest iron ship in Japan.
The day was also established as a holiday to express gratitude for the gifts of the sea, honour its importance, and pray for the prosperity of Japan as a maritime nation.
Originally the holiday was held on 20 July, but was changed as part of the 'Happy Monday' reforms to holidays that created long weekends from most public holidays in Japan.
As it is a modern holiday, there are no particular traditional ceremonies associated with the day.
However, in celebration of Marine Day all the national aquariums organize special events, water sports competitions, water shows, and cultural activities relating to the sea take place.
Many people take advantage of this summer holiday to have a rather fitting day out at the beach.