Marine Day

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Marine Day
Official name海の日 (Umi no Hi)
Observed byJapan
SignificanceHonors the blessings of the oceans and economic prosperity of maritime Japan
CelebrationsFamilies may visit beaches, swim, snorkel, surf, or dive. National aquariums host special water-related events.
DateThird Monday in July
2023 dateJuly 17  (2023-07-17)
2024 dateJuly 15  (2024-07-15)
2025 dateJuly 21  (2025-07-21)
2026 dateJuly 20  (2026-07-20)

Marine Day (海の日, Umi no Hi), also known as "Ocean Day" or "Sea Day", is a public holiday in Japan usually celebrated on the third Monday in July. The purpose of the holiday is to give thanks for the ocean's bounty and to consider the importance of the ocean to Japan as a maritime nation.[1]

Many people take advantage of the holiday and summer weather to take a beach trip. Other ocean-related festivities are observed as well.[2] The date roughly coincides with the end of the rainy season (梅雨 tsuyu) in much of the Japanese mainland.[citation needed]

In 2020, the holiday was observed on Thursday, July 23, a one-time move that was made as a special accommodation to support the opening of the Tokyo Olympics. Due to the postponement of the Olympics, the 2021 date was moved to July 22, also on Thursday as a one-time holiday.[3][4]


Meiji Maru is the origin of Marine Day

The day was known as Marine Memorial Day (海の記念日, 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.[5] 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.[6] However, it was not designated a national holiday until 1995, when it became the first holiday in the summer months.[7]

First observed on July 20, 1996, the Happy Monday System legislation moved the date to the third Monday of July beginning in 2003.[2]

As special arrangement for the 2020 Summer Olympics, the 2020 date for Marine Day was moved to July 23. With the Olympics and Paralympics postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government left this change in place for 2020 and passed an amendment to the Olympic and Paralympic Special Measures Act to make a corresponding change to the holiday in 2021.[3][8]


On this day, families may visit beaches such as Isshiki Beach in Hayama and swim, snorkel, surf, or dive. People may also participate in an event called 'mud-ball throwing'. National aquariums also host special water-related events on this day.[9]


  1. ^ 国民の祝日について (in Japanese). Cabinet Office, Government of Japan. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Marine Day (Third Monday in July)". Cross Currents. University of Hawaii. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Japan's National Holidays in 2021". June 10, 2020. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  4. ^ "東京五輪、開会式前後が4連休に 閉会式前後は3連休:朝日新聞デジタル". 朝日新聞デジタル (in Japanese). Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  5. ^ "The Meiji-maru". Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  6. ^ Iida, Masao (June 2002). 橋から見た隅田川の歴史 (History of the Sumida River as seen from a bridge) (in Japanese). 文芸社. p. 52. ISBN 9784835538945. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  7. ^ "Marine Day (Third Monday of July)". JET Programme. Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  8. ^ "五輪祝日、来年も移動 特措法改正へ―政府・与党" (in Japanese). 時事通信社. April 1, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  9. ^ Centre, Japan (July 13, 2018). "Celebrating Umi No Hi (Marine Day) in Japan". Japan Centre. Retrieved July 11, 2020.

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