Yamadera Mountain Temple in Yamagata, Japan.— Photo by sepavone
Dates of Mountain Day?
Mountain Day is also known as 'Yama no hi' and is Japan's newest public holiday.
Since 2016, it has been celebrated on 11 August. It is presumed that if 11 August falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as a holiday.
A revision to the Law on National Holidays was enacted in a parliament session on May 23, 2014 to be enforced from January 1, 2016.
The legislation states that Mountain Day is intended is to provide “opportunities to get familiar with mountains and appreciate blessings from mountains".
The holiday was established after the Japanese Alpine Club and other groups lobbied for the bill, arguing that Japan, where Shinto beliefs in nature have shaped the culture, should celebrate its peaks and mountains.
This is fitting as around 70 per cent of the land mass of Japan is mountainous, and activities such as hiking and skiing are popular.
11 August was chosen as the date for Mountain Day as some local authorities in mountainous regions of the country had already set that date as a day to honour their mountains. It has been said that the date is fitting as eight, written in kanji (characters used in written Japanese), looks like a mountain and that the number 11 looks like two trees.
As it is a modern holiday, there are no particular traditional ceremonies associated with the day.
The inaugural National Ceremony for Mountain Day will be held in the Japanese Alps at Kamikochi in Matsumoto, Nagano.
In 2016, a survey by the Japan Weather Association showed that only 68% of people were aware of the new holiday. It will take some time for Mountain Day to become established as a national holiday - in the same survey nearly 10% of people said they were not aware of Marine Day which was introduced in 1996.