Mountain Day is a Japanese Public Holiday that was established in 2016. It is the youngest public holiday that the country celebrates. Traditionally known as Yama no Hi, Mountain Day is a day meant to appreciate the mountains and their blessings. The Japanese Alpine Club was the main lobbyist for the holiday arguing that Japanese culture was heavily influenced by Shinto and its appreciation of nature. They felt that it was important to have a holiday that recognizes the mountains and the way they have shaped society. Since roughly 70% of Japan is mountainous this makes perfect sense. Especially considering there is already a public holiday to celebrate the sea: Marine Day.
The official legislation for the holiday states: “Mountain Day is intended to provide opportunities to get familiar with mountains and appreciate blessings from mountains.” The inaugural National Ceremony for Mountain Day was held in the Japanese Alps at Kamikochi in Matsumoto, Nagano. However, due to the newness of the holiday there are not yet traditional methods of celebration.
Yama no Hi is celebrated every August 11th. This date was specifically chosen due to the fact that both the number “eleven” and the kanji character for the number “eight” 八 look like the sides of a mountain. When the holiday falls during the weekend the following Monday is used as the day of observance.