To give thanks for the resources that the ocean has given, Japan celebrates Marine Day, known as Umi No Hi on the third Monday of July. Umi No Hi translates to “day of ocean.”
Japan is a nation built by a chain of islands, and its economy relies on the natural resources for food and trade.
Rei Takahashi, a senior from Kumomoto Japan who is studying social work, said, “Japan would not be able to get a lot of fish and blessings without the ocean, so this is a day we give gratitude to the ocean.”
Takahashi continued to explain that Umi No Hi is a day when the beach is opened to the public and summer begins.
Kei Nakatsuka a senior from Japan and studying EXS said that before the beach is open to the public, there are usually a lot of jellyfish in the ocean. While people are allowed to go in the ocean before the beaches are opened, many wait for the government to announce the safety from the jellyfish.
Takahashi said even though the holiday is celebrated, the deeper meaning of the holiday isn’t typically celebrated. They are just happy to have the holiday to spend time with friends or have a family day.
Naktsuka recalled as a child going to the beach with his family to celebrate Umi No Hi. He said, “There’s a house or hut on the beach only in the summer that sells Yakisoba noodles. They’re so good, I remember eating those when I was young.”
His wife, Ai Nakatsuka from Sapporo, also a senior from Japan who is studying music said because she’s from the more Northern part of Japan, her family didn’t really go to the ocean. She said it was too cold, dirty, and full of minerals.
Takahashi said her family, from Tottori, lived further from the beach and they would go up into the mountains to enjoy the holiday as a family.
Nakatsuka and Takahashi both said Umi No Hi is definitely a smaller holiday, but is a day enjoyed not having to go to school since it is a public national holiday.
Bigger Japanese holidays include Girl’s Day in March, Children’s Day in May, and Bon Festival in August.