Marine Day, Japan

Marine Day, Japan

Marine Day (Third Monday in July), Japan


Celebration Date
Third Monday in July
Other Name
Ocean Day, Sea Day
Holiday Type
National Holiday


Marine Day (Umi no Hi), also known as "Ocean Day" or "Sea Day", is Japanese national holiday celebrated on the third Monday in July. Many people take advantage of the holiday and summer weather to take a beach trip. Other ocean-related festivities are observed as well. The date roughly coincides with the end of tsuyu (rainy season) in much of the Japan mainland. The day was known as Marine Memorial Day (umi no kinen bi) until 1996.

Communications Minister Shozo Murata designated the day in 1941 to commemorate the Meiji Emperor and his 1876 voyage in the Meiji Maru, an iron steamship constructed in Scotland in 1874. The voyage included a trip around the Tōhoku region, embarking on a lighthouse boat in Aomori, and a brief stop in Hakodate before returning to Yokohama on July 20 of that year.


History of Marine Day

Marine Memorial Day was established in 1941 to mark the anniversary of the 1876 return of the Meiji Emperor to the Port of Yokohama, on the two-masted topsail schooner Meiji-Maru, from a tour of the Tohoku and Hokkaido regions. Across the country, one of the most popular ways to celebrate Marine Day is to visit the sea and swim, snorkel, surf or dive. Another way to spend time at the sea is ‘mud-ball throwing’, which has become quite popular over the last few years. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can literally give something back to the oceans by throwing dried mud-balls filled with ‘Effective Micro-organisms” (EMs) into the water. These balls help to break-down and eliminate sea grime. Or for something slightly more refined, the national aquariums host special water-related events.


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, Marine Day all the national aquariums organize special events, water sports competitions, water shows, and cultural activities relating to the sea take place. 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. 

Since 1996 that saw the enactment of Marine Day, the twelve days from July 20 through 31 has been designated as Fortnight of Sea. During the period, Maritime Bureau of MLIT has worked with local governments etc. to promote ideas related to oceans. Starting in 2003 (Heisei 15), the twelve days in commemoration of Marine Day was increased to one whole month. In order to enlighten the national people on the importance of oceans and bring wider publicity to Marine Day, one entire month including Marine Day and stretching from July 1 through 31 was designated as Marine Month.




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