Today marks the first official “Mountain Day”, a new public holiday in Japan, to celebrate and give reverence to….you guessed it…. mountains! This is a welcome addition to August, since there weren’t any public holidays this month, bringing the total to an exceptional 16 public holidays a year.

Plume Cloud forming over Mt. Fuji

Why this date?

Since the Kanji for “eight” (August being the 8th month) looks somewhat like the sides of a mountain, 八, and the roman numeral 11 looks kinda, sorta like two trees, they decided to combine those two aspects of nature and make August 11th Mountain Day.

Why Mountains?

Japan, being a mountainous country, has quite a few mountains for nature-lovers to enjoy, so as one of the top geographical features of this country, mountains have a somewhat revered status in Japan, with Mt Fuji being the most revered one in the entire country.

Visitors enjoying a great view of Mt. Fuji

So everyone knows about this new Holiday?

Not exactly. Since its a new holiday starting this year, about a third of the population had never heard of it. I do think most people appreciate having the extra holiday though.

View of Mt Fuji

Economic impact

Early estimates seem to suggest that the new holiday will possibly be responsible for an extra 820 Billion Yen ($8bn; €7bn) in spending. This is due to an expected increase in sales of hiking/camping gear, increased travel (especially to mountainous areas) during this holiday, and of course an increase in food and beverage sales.

So go out, leave your Pokemon Go characters for a day, get back to your Line messages later, and just enjoy the splendid nature that mountainous areas provide, in honour of Mountain Day.  Have a great one, everyone!