YH 6
It’s no secret that Japan is a hard-working society. Thankfully, there are a few times each year when more or less the whole country goes on vacation for a few days. There’s the string of holidays collectively known as Golden Week in early May, plus o-bon in August where people traditionally head back to their home towns, spend time with their relatives, and pay a visit to the graves of their ancestors.

However, there’s not much to stem the flow of work or school responsibilities between those two blissful periods, except for the oasis of Umi no Hi, or Marine/Sea Day, on the third Monday in July, which encourages people to take a trip to the beach and splash about in the sea.

Of course, this leaves June without a holiday of its own. And while Marine Day is great for people living in the coastal regions of Japan, residents of the country’s eight landlocked prefectures feel understandably left out. Thankfully, a group in mountainous Tochigi Prefecture has a solution to both problems.

On June 2, roughly 300 people gathered in Utsunomiya, Tochigi’s capital city, to discuss establishing a new national holiday to be called Yama no Hi, or Mountain Day.

”Wow, for me? Thanks, you shouldn’t have!

YH 4
Three alpine associations from Tochigi have come together to form the Mountain Day Establishment Committee. Chairman Toshio Kinai opened the conference with the remarks that, “since there is a Marine Day, it’s unfair that there isn’t also a Mountain Day.”

▼ But is it wise to start down this slippery slope that will undoubtedly necessitate Space Day when we ultimately colonize the galaxy?

YH 5
Also in attendance were Tochigi native and musician Toru Funamura and Governor Tomikazu Fukuda, who reported that he would be raising the topic at an upcoming meeting of other governors from prefectures in Japan’s eastern Kanto region. Lending further political clout to the movement was Diet member Koya Nishikawa, who has formed a nonpartisan Mountain Day advocacy group with 85 other members of the House of Representatives. The group is hoping to fast track approval of the new holiday by introducing a motion for its inception and winning the necessary approval in time for it to be official next June.

Speakers at the conference explained that their reasons for choosing June for Mountain Day run deeper than just a lack of current holidays during the month. Early summer is the traditional hiking season in Japan, and in the first half of the month, before the rainy season gets into full swing, temperatures are generally mild and storms are rare.

▼ We should point out that hiking in the mountains is especially popular with senior citizens in Japan.

YH 2
With these points in mind, the committee is tentatively offering the first Sunday in June as a possible date for Mountain Day. Hold on a second, Sunday? Don’t we already have that day off? Thankfully the committee is still in its planning stage. Good luck guys, and provided you push Mountain Day up just 24 little hours to the first Monday in June, you’ve got our full support.

Source: Shimotsuke
Top image: Goo
Insert images: Geocities, WordPress, Shimotsuke