July 20, 2024

Roughly 400-miles off the coast of Japan’s southernmost region of Kyushu, Okinawa has long been credited with having one of the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world.

Thanks to a combination of a plant-based diet and the Japanese philosophy known as ‘Ikigai’ which loosely translates to a purpose driven lifestyle, this October, the Halekulani Okinawa has partnered with longevity and wellness research company Blue Zones and will host Japan’s first official Blue Zones Retreat.

“By offering the first Blue Zones retreat in Japan, our goal is to share the most special aspect of our culture with visitors including our rich wisdom of longevity,” Director of Public Relations at Halekulani Okinawa Shoko Maeshiro tells Forbes. “For wellness travelers and those seeking a mindful travel experience that’s off the beaten path, Okinawa has a lot to offer. We are a hidden gem outside the crowds of many other tourist hotspots in Japan.”

Spread across 32-acres within Okinawa’s Kaigan Quasi-National Park, Halekulani stretches along a mile of coastline, and is home to an award-winning SpaHalekulani, five swimming pools, magnificent all-day dining at at their signature restaurant House Without A Key.

Starting October 20, over the course of the six night, seven day retreat, guests will experience a variety of exclusive ‘Blue Zones’ workshops, from sunrise sailings and plant-based cooking classes to mindfulness exercises and purpose-driven classes.

Okinawa was designated as one of the world’s five Blue Zone destinations in 2005 by National Geographic fellow and author Dan Buettner, rates for the retreat start at approximately $3,800, not including accommodations.

“During our retreat, guests will immerse in distinct Okinawan cultural experiences, like karate, which originated here, and cooking classes with a sushi chef at our Japanese restaurant AOMI and a vegetable sommelier – all nourishing mind, body and soul to promote a life well lived,” Maeshiro said.

Other Blue Zone locations around the world include Sardinia, Italy, Nicoya, Costa Rica, Ikaria, Greece, and finally Loma Linda, California.

While this will be the first branded ‘Blue Zones’ retreat slated to take place in Japan, other retreats have already been launched in destinations including Kamalaya in Koh Samui, Thailand, the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica and the Modern Elder Academy (MEA) in the US and Mexico.

“We are thrilled to offer a program where guests can experience the food, culture, and lifestyle cultivated here and take home practices to improve their own health and well-being,” General Manager of Halekulani Okinawa Jun Yoshie said. “Our goal is to integrate the local cultural heritage into every aspect of the guest experience, and this is an ideal opportunity for us to share a piece of Okinawa with our visitors.”


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