by Rossella Francini
Okinawa is an island of Japan that is a true paradise, and has been studied for a long time as it is part of the blue areas of the world, that are the places where many centenarians live. Researchers studied the eating and social habits because here not only many inhabitants are over 100 years old, but they get there in good health! Their secret is undoubtedly that of eating little and never getting up from the table completely satiated, eating fish and seaweed, a frugal diet and good social relationships that they cultivate for life.
But Okinawa is also a true paradise where you can be enchanted by a wonderful sea and many things to see, in a fascinating culture very far from ours own european one.
The north of the island of Okinawa, the main island of the Ryukyu archipelago, is dominated by large beaches, mountains and hills covered with sub-tropical primary forest. The center is known by the name of Chanpuru which means "mixture" because of the numerous American military bases that give this region an Okinavian and American bi-cultural aspect. Also in this part of the island there are numerous historical sites included in the World Heritage Site.
Not to be missed are some castles including the Castle of Katsuren which was owned by Mr. Awamari who in the fifteenth century put real power in serious difficulty because of his rebellious character and his military conquests. Today there are only a few ruins classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and a splendid view of the central region and the sea on one side, and the other part of the Katsuren peninsula.
Zakimi Castle built in the 14th century by the legendary warrior Gosamaru, known for his military constructions, is also the first example of a stone portal on the island of Okinawa and is well worth a visit. It is also part of the World Heritage of Humanity; in the neighborhood of the castle it is worth visiting the village of master potters from Yachimun no Sato.
Other castles to visit are the Castle of Nakijin, also a UNESCO World Heritage site that was that of Clan Aji who ruled in the Kingdom of the North at the time of the Three Regions before unification in 1429, and the Castle of Nakagusuku, a 150m meters above sea level, and originally built by the Aji clan in the fourteenth century and later enlarged by Gosomaru in the fifteenth century before finally falling into the hands of Awamari, the rebel gentleman. It is also part of the World Heritage Site.
Do not miss the Residence of the Nakamura family, a large family of shepherds, which was built in the 18th century. Its conservation conditions practically perfect have earned it the name of Cultural Heritage of major importance, and in the Botanical Garden of the South-East you can observe 100 species of different plants on 400000 square meters, more, 3000 types of tropical flowers and 200 tropical fruit's trees.
Another interesting discovery for the visitor will be the village of Ryukyumura at the foot of the hill Takouyama, a recreational center that presents seven types of houses typical of old Okinawa and handicrafts of the region. There is also a nursery containing the habu, a very poisonous snake, found only in Okinawa and Taiwan.
We recommend also going to Manzamo, a grassy plateau overlooking the bay of Nago because from here you can have the most stunning view of Okinawa on the cobalt blue sea and admire the foam of the waves crashing on the coral reef. Nearby are several beaches, including the Manza beach.
Not to be missed is the Ocean Expo Park, a national park where the universal Okinawa exhibition on the sea and the oceans was held in 1975. The park includes the Okinawa Churaumi aquarium, which is one of the most beautiful and largest of all Japan, and a botanical garden with more than 2000 orchids and tropical plants, a marine museum, a large beach and the historic village.
The very poisonous snake habu
Okinawa Ocean Expo Park
Where to stay
Okinawa Marriott Resort & SPA
A paradise in the paradise of the island of Okinawa, the Marriott Resort is just a few minutes from the beach and 1 km from Kariyushi Beach. The rooms are very nice and spacious and offer all the comfort you need.The resort has 5 different restaurants where you can discover the delights of the island cuisine, known for its genuineness, as well as international specialties, with the guarantee the quality of the raw materials used and the excellence of hospitality where nothing is left to chance. You can reach the hotel with a dedicated limousine service that will pick you up at the Naha Airport about an hour away from the resort. Golf enthusiasts can practice at the nearby Kise Country Golf Club.
Oriental Hills Okinawa
It will be difficult to find a better accommodation . In this resort you will spend wonderful moments in contact with nature, in the Onna forest. The Oriental Hills has only 14 luxurious suites, all equipped with a private pool in an area of 20,000 square meters. The moments that you will spend will be unforgettable, surrounded by the sea and the subtropical forest, accompanied by the sounds of nature that will make you forget the stress of everyday life. The service is punctual and attentive and at the same time very respectful of the guest's privacy also guaranteed by the position of the resort itself that can not be seen from the street. You won't forget it.
The Terrace Club Welness
Feeling out of the world is possible and that's what you will experience in this spectacular resort in Busena, on Okinawa Island. A center where you can find harmony and well-being thanks to the most innovative relaxing and anti-age therapies. Absolutely healthy and dedicated menus made exclusively with fresh and local products, in an incredible setting, surrounded by the East China Sea and the golden sands of Nago Bay.
You will hardly find a better SPA, with a truly exclusive service and a professionalism beyond imagination for a total remise-en-forme. You can make a plan customized to your specific needs, and recover the balance through thalassotherapy that exploits the healing power of sea water. All face and body treatments are performed with natural oils and balms. Private yoga classes and a restaurant where guests can enjoy their creativity, health and freshness, while you will finally understand why in Okinawa people live a so long life.