If you can’t imagine a better way to spend a day off than lounging on a beach somewhere, it might be in your best interest to move to Japan as soon as possible. On the third Monday in July, Japan celebrates Marine Day, a public national holiday dedicated to celebrating the ocean and its role in the daily lives of the Japanese people. The nautical holiday originated in 1941 to commemorate the Meiji emperor’s 1876 voyage in the first Japanese iron steamship. but has since morphed into a celebration of the sea and Japan’s maritime identity. Today there are no classes or office hours, and most people celebrate by grabbing their bathing suits, packing a lunch, and heading to the beach.
Even though there are no official ceremonies to follow on this day, many of the national aquariums organize special events, water sports competitions, and water shows to commemorate the holiday. One of the most exciting events of the day is the Marine Day Lantern Festival, which takes place on the shores of Odaiba. Hundreds of paper lanterns are set out on the shore, some with elaborate designs and colors. Once the sun sets, the lanterns are lit one by one, transforming the shores of Odaiba into an otherworldly landscape. It’s a worthy send-off to a day dedicated to enjoying the magic of our natural environment.
Whether you’re spending your day holed up in the office or out in the sun, you can still cultivate the feeling of freedom that the sea offers us. At the very least, making yourself a breezy drink with an umbrella in it after work can’t hurt. From all of us at Rikumo, we hope you get a chance to get out there and enjoy your closest natural happy place today.