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Wednesday, 7th May 2014
In General Japan News,

Japan to get Mountain Day holiday

A move by the Japanese government could mean the country soon enjoys a 16th national holiday added to its national calendar, it has been reported.

Yama no Hi, or Mountain Day, is one step closer to reality following approval from the Lower House, with the Upper House expected to follow suit when the proposition goes through to them later this year.

Japan is known for celebrating nature during its national days, with the so-called Greenery Day already enjoyed as part of Golden Week in April every year, in order to recognise Emperor Showa's birthday and his admiration of plant life.

However, Mountain Day is primarily about the sheer beauty and majesty of these incredible natural structures, such as Mount Fuji, which can be seen from Tokyo and attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is considered a highly valuable national symbol and features in many art works depicting Japan.

"The national holiday aims to give opportunities to get close to mountains and to appreciate the benefits of mountains," the amendment claims.

If approved in the Upper House, the national holiday will be held every year on August 11th starting from 2016. This will make it the only public free day to fall during the month of Obon, or Japan's Festival of the Dead, which many Japanese people take time off to enjoy.

Should the bill pass, June will become the only month in Japan's calendar not to contain a public holiday, although it is worth remembering that most locals enjoy less paid time off than their Western counterparts.

The largest concentration of public holidays falls during April and May. Workers can enjoy a break of up to seven days long, depending on how the dates fall on the calendar that year.

Related news stories:
Japan's hiking boom leads to well-maintained routes (7th August 2015)