As an archipelago, Japan has close cultural and economic ties with the ocean – you only need to look to Japanese cuisine to see how important the sea is to Japan! It’ll come as no surprise then that there is a public holiday that celebrates the ocean and everything it offers – Umi no Hi 海の日, or Marine Day.
Read on to learn all about Marine Day in Japan and some easy ocean-related words in Japanese.
Celebrating Marine Day in Japan
Umi no Hi is celebrated on the third Monday of July. As the name states, it’s a day to celebrate and show appreciation for the sea. Marine Day was established in 1941 to commemorate Emperor Meiji’s voyage around Tohoku in 1876 on an iron steamship. He travelled from Aomori to Hakodate, then from Hakodate to Yokohama. Marine Day wasn’t designated a public holiday until 1995, however.
Since the holiday falls during summer and at the end of rainy season, many people take the opportunity to go to the beach or take a trip to the coast where they can go swimming, eat fresh seafood and relax by the ocean.
Some of Japan’s top beach destinations include Okinawa, the Izu Peninsula and the Ogasawara Islands. For those who prefer to stay closer to home, they might visit a local aquarium, enjoy some fireworks displays, or simply indulge in some quality seafood.
Japanese words for the ocean and the sea
The most common word used in Japanese for the sea is umi 海 and is used to describe the sea or ocean in general.
The words kaiyō 海洋 and taiyō 大洋 mean “ocean”, but they are used more to refer to the large oceans, such as the Atlantic Ocean (taiseiyō 大西洋), the Pacific Ocean (taiheiyō 太平洋), etc. Outside of these scientific uses, 海洋 and 大洋 aren’t used in common everyday language.
Things you find under the sea
The list of things you can find in the ocean is endless. But for the sake of learning some easy ocean-related vocabulary, here are some basic Japanese words to get you started:
Going to the beach
As mentioned, one of the most popular ways to celebrate Marine Day in Japan is to take a trip to the beach. Here is some basic vocabulary and easy phrases in Japanese for your next beach trip:
Although there is the word bìchi ビーチ, which means “beach”, it’s more common to use the word “umi”. For example:
Let’s go to the beach this weekend!
こん しゅうまつ うみ に いきましょう！
Kon shūmatsu umi ni ikimashō!
Shall we go for a swim at the beach/in the sea?
うみ で およぎましょうか？
Umi de oyogimashōka?
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If you enjoyed learning these simple ocean-related Japanese words, then have you thought about learning more of the language?
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