Aurora kinase B (AURKB) triggers the phosphorylation of serine 10 on histone H3 (H3S10ph), which is important for chromosome condensation and cytokinesis during mitosis in mammals. However, how exactly AURKB controls cell cycle and contributes to tumorigenesis as an oncoprotein under pathological conditions remains largely unknown. Here, we report that AURKB promotes gastric cancer cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Silencing AURKB expression inhibits gastric cell proliferation and arrests the cell cycle in G2/M phase. We demonstrate that cyclin D1 (CCND1) is a direct downstream target of AURKB that plays a key role in gastric cancer cell proliferation. AURKB is able to activate the expression of CCND1 through mediating H3S10ph in the promoter of the CCND1 gene. Furthermore, we show that AZD1152, a specific inhibitor of AURKB, can suppress the expression of CCND1 in the gastric cancer cells and inhibit cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, we found that high AURKB and CCND1 expression levels are correlated with shorter overall survival of gastric cancer patients. This study demonstrates that AURKB promotes gastric tumorigenesis potentially through epigenetically activating CCND1 expression, suggesting AURKB as a promising therapeutic target in gastric cancer.