Hamauri Beach Day

Hamauri Beach Day

A Japanese celebration catering to women’s relaxation.

Hamauri Beach Day is a tradition in Japan (though most prevalent in Okinawa) in which women, for one day of the year during the month of March, take the day off and go to the beach.  The original intent behind this is rooted in the past, when women would seek to purify themselves each year by bathing in the sea.  Those who celebrate Hamauri Beach Day still take some time out to take a dip, but now it’s more about just relaxing and enjoying time with friends and family than anything else.

The legend behind the ritual involves a young woman who was seduced by a gentleman stranger.  The parents, upon discovering that she was pregnant, decided to find out more about the man.  They followed him into a cave where they discovered that he was a snake in disguise.  In order to prevent herself from giving birth to the snake’s children, the woman had to enter the sea.  Most of that meaning has been lost over time, but many still believe that the ritual is useful for casting out bad spirits and promoting good health in young women.

Hamauri Beach Day today is a beach party of sorts. There is plenty of food, stage performances featuring almost exclusively female musicians, people singing and dancing and markets selling crafts and the like.  Young women and their families gather together to enjoy the day while the men (usually) stay at home, doing the chores for the day.

This relaxed event is a good chance for female visitors to Japan to meet with the locals in an environment that caters to them.  It is a unique celebration that can be enjoyable to anyone, regardless of where they come from and whether they believe in the tradition or not.