With its densely packed cities and fast-paced professional world, some in Japan may have trouble finding time to appreciate the country’s boundless natural beauty. So in 2014, a new holiday was invented to remind them to pause and take a look around: Mountain Day.
This Friday, Google celebrates the new holiday — only its second year in observance — with a new doodle depicting a sunset over the iconic Mount Fuji, the tallest and most famous of Japan’s mountains lying some 60 miles southwest of the capital Tokyo. While Fuji is best known among them, Japan is home to hundreds of other peaks running north to south like a spine, covering nearly 70% of the island nation.
Mountain Day falls on Aug. 11 because the Japanese kanji character for “eight” resembles a mountain, while the numeral 11 looks like adjacent trees, according to the BBC. The holiday was created to encourage people to get out of the city and go for a hike in the countryside, both to learn more about Japan’s geography and cultural heritage and to alleviate the pressures of the daily grind.
Japan also celebrates Ocean Day on the third Monday of July. The day similarly honors the ocean and its bounty, and offers blessings for the economic prosperity of maritime Japan.
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