- July 1st: “Yamabiraki” or the opening of a mountain to climbers.
- July 7th: Tanabata
- July 15th: Chugen
- July 16th: Marine Day
- July 20th: Doyo No Ushi No Hi’ (Midsummer Day of the Ox)
July 1st: “Yamabiraki” or the opening of a mountain to climbers.
This is the first day of the year when people can climb a mountain. It originated from the custom of opening a mountain in the summer for a certain period of time to hold rituals. For Mt. Fuji, the opening ceremony is held at Asama Shrine.
July 7th: Tanabata
Tanabata is one of the most important seasonal festivals following Hina Matsuri and Tango no Sekku, or the Boy’s festival. Tanabata is held everywhere in Japan. It’s the day you write down your wishes on a slip of paper and hang it on bamboo leaves. If you want to celebrate it too, you may want to read our article about Tanabata at Kanda-Myojin shrine, or our article about Tanabata in Asakusa and Ueno.
July 15th: Chugen
It was originally a seasonal festival in China to celebrate and dedicate things to God.
In Japan, it has transformed into dedicating things to ancestors, because the period of “Obon” overlaps the Chugen season. Ultimately it’s the season to give presents to relatives and to those who take care of you. You can read more about this tradition in the following article: Ochugen.
July 16th: Marine Day
It was created in 1996 to appreciate the prosperity of Japan’s seas. It is a national holiday and set on the third Monday in July. Many schools start their holiday on this day and the rainy season usually ends around this day, so it’s a kind of an ‘official announcement’ of the beginning of summer in Japan.
July 20th: Doyo No Ushi No Hi’ (Midsummer Day of the Ox)
This day is said to be the hottest day of the year. We have a custom of nourishing ourselves by eating eel, which is rich in vitamins and protein. After its name “Ushi No Hi”, there is a custom that says it’s good to eat something starting with Japanese syllable “U” (pronounced ‘oo’), such as Umeboshi and Udon.