Google Doodle celebrates Mountain Day, Japan’s newest holiday

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.

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. (Time)

A much-awaited steam locomotive went into service on Tobu Railway Co.’s Kinugawa Line in the city of Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, eastern Japan, on Thursday. (Jiji)

A Tokyo personnel dispatch company unveiled a new farm on the 13th floor of its Tokyo headquarters on Wednesday. (Kyodo)

Rest your body and wallet as you travel half-way across the country in your sleep. (

Temperatures soared along the Pacific coast in eastern and western Japan on Wednesday with the mercury topping 37 C in Tokyo and other cities in the Kanto region as Typhoon Noru’s passage was followed by a warm air mass. (Japan Today)

When cat cafes started showing up in Japan, no one was really sure how long they’d last. Sure, the idea of sipping on drinks and munching on light fare while surrounded by felines had a definite appeal, but some wondered if it might be nothing more than a passing fad. (

The city of Kyoto aims to introduce a lodging tax in 2018 at the earliest to cope with issues stemming from a surge in the number of tourists, based on a recommendation Monday from an advisory panel. (Japan Today)

A Kuroshio limited express train led by a car with a panda face debuted Saturday in Osaka to lure tourists to Adventure World, the giant wildlife theme park in Wakayama Prefecture where the popular animals are on show. (Japan Times)

Outdoor theme park Legoland Japan plans to expand its area to some 13 hectares, 1.4 times the current size, the head of its operator said in a recent interview. (Japan Times)

The rainy season appears to be over in the Hokuriku and Tohoku regions in central and northeastern Japan, the weather agency said Wednesday, declaring an end to the early summer wet season throughout the Japanese archipelago.

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