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Wednesday, 10th August 2016
In Events In Japan,

Inaugural Mountain Day to be marked in Japan

Tomorrow (August 11th) will be Mountain Day in Japan, but much of the population can be forgiven for not realising the event is taking place. That’s because the 2016 edition will be the first time that the public holiday has occurred.

Back in 2014, the Diet established the day, with the legislation going through with support from both the ruling and opposition parties. It takes the number of official public holidays marked in Japan each year to 16.

It came after years of lobbying from the Japanese Alpine Club and a number of other mountain-related organisations. They have always argued that with so many peaks throughout the country, it’s important that Japan celebrates them in a fitting manner.

Ideally, the population will use the new national holiday to get out into the mountains and explore them at close quarters. The Law on National Holidays states that Mountain Day is expected to provide “opportunities to become familiar with mountains and be thankful for blessings from mountains”.

The Japan Weather Association conducted a survey of 500 people to see how many had actually heard of the new holiday. Some 68 per cent of respondents said they were aware of the event, leaving a significant proportion in the dark, reports the Japan Times.

Of those who were surveyed, 80 per cent of those in their 20s knew the event was to take place compared to just 62 per cent in their 60s. As it is intended to be an annual occasion, it’s likely that the population will become more aware of Mountain Day over time.

Japan has a large number of mountains, making it a popular destination for visitors wanting to go hiking among incredible scenery. Its most famous peak is Mount Fuji, which has been immortalised in art and literature over the years.

Anyone wishing to take advantage of World Mountain Day to go hiking has plenty of choice in Japan. Among the options are Daisetsuzan National Park in Hokkaido, whose name translates as Big Snow Mountain; Kamikochi in the Japanese Alps; and of course, Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in the country.

August 11th was chosen as World Mountain Day, because eight – August being the eighth month of the year – resembles a mountain when written in Kanji. This image, when added to the two tree-like pillars of 11, presents an idyllic natural scene.

Related news stories:
Japan to get Mountain Day holiday (7th May 2014)