Celebrating Marine Day in Japan
What is Marine Day?
Marine Day (‘Umi no hi’) is soon approaching in Japan. Also referred to as ‘Ocean Day’, this day is an annual holiday held on the third Monday in July. Marine Day was initially known as Marine Memorial Day, established in 1941. Initially, Marine Memorial Day was to celebrate the anniversary of the return of the Meiji Emperor to the Port of Yokohama, in 1976. This changed to Marine Day in 1996, to give thanks to the ocean and appreciate its importance. As a part of Japan’s ‘Happy Monday System’, Marine Day was then made into a Monday Holiday in 2003. Japan wanted to provide more 3-day weekends to reward its hard-working citizens, giving them a chance to spend time with family and friends whilst appreciating the beauty of Japan.
Marine Day Celebrations
Citizens often make the most of this holiday by choosing to visit the beaches of Japan to appreciate the ocean. As it is a relatively modern national holiday, there are no traditions to be honoured on this day. However, many aquariums and swimming pools organise special events relating to the ocean, all to involve individuals in Marine Day celebrations. Marine Day is often regarded as the beginning of summer, as it is the first national holiday to be on a weekday at the beginning of summer in Japan.
There are a variety of activities that involve giving back to Japan’s oceans on this day. For example, there is a mud-throwing event that is beneficial for the sea! Of course, these aren’t just regular mud balls. These mud balls contain special chemicals that work to clean the ocean. Many choose to help the ocean as a way of celebrating Marine Day, getting to spend the day with family and friends whilst giving back to nature.
One of the most popular events on Marine day involves lighting lanterns on the sea front in Odaiba, Tokyo. The Marine Day Lantern Festival involves volunteers setting up hundreds of paper lanterns, and each year they are laid out in a particular pattern. Last year, the pattern was to celebrate Tokyo City being chosen as the venue for the Olympics in 2020. Crowds of people come to see the array of lanterns and the wonderful view beyond the lanterns.
Fireworks can be seen throughout Japan on this day. An annual fireworks display is held in the Port of Yokohama to commemorate where the Meiji Emperor ended his journey. A spectacular display of fireworks is paired with a colourful parade of music and floats. People love to use this day to come together and enjoy beautiful celebrations. Even without traditions of this national holiday, many of Japan’s citizens choose to celebrate it in the same way each year, with one or more of these activities.
If you want to appreciate Japan’s oceans in honour of Marine Day, we highly recommend our Ocean Waves Japanese Print. Visit our website for other Japanese gifts, or keep up to date with our blog for information on more national holidays and traditions!