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19 Jun 2024

Japan's first Blue Zones longevity retreat to launch at Halekulani Okinawa
BY Megan Whitby

Okinawa has some of the highest life expectancy rates in the world

Okinawa has some of the highest life expectancy rates in the world
photo: Halekulani Okinawa

A new retreat focused on helping people lead longer, happier lives is launching on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

As one of the world's five Blue Zone areas, Okinawa is known for its population's longevity and health. National Geographic fellow and explorer Dan Buettner identified these Blue Zones, which also include Sardinia (Italy), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Ikaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California).

The programme will be hosted at the luxury five-star resort Halekulani Okinawa, following the signing of a three-year partnership with the Blue Zones organisation.

The tie-up will commence with a retreat from October 20-26, 2024, offering exclusive experiences and workshops based on Blue Zones' research on Okinawan traditions that foster longevity and happiness.

Highlights will include:
• Plant-forward cuisine and cooking classes with an Okinawan vegetable sommelier.
• A traditional Okinawan ceramics class and Yachimun pottery street walk.
• Sunrise Sabani boat sailing and meditation.
• A traditional tea ceremony.
• Learning to play the sanshin (a traditional three-stringed instrument)
• Two Halekulani Okinawa Escapes programmes: (1) Discover the Island’s Mabui (soul), which honours Okinawa’s origins as the birthplace of karate with a course that teaches pattern-based movements and specialised breathing techniques of the sacred art; (2) Discover the Island’s Umui (spirit), a spiritual guided tour through the historic Nanjo region of the island designed to cultivate a mindful connection through three stages of life: past, present and future.

"With one of the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world, Okinawa is known for its rich culture and history of wellbeing," said Jun Yoshie, GM of Halekulani Okinawa. "We’re thrilled to offer a programme where guests can experience the food, culture and lifestyle cultivated here and take home practices to improve their own health and wellbeing."

Céline Vadam – head of retreats and hospitality partnerships at Blue Zones, a certified integrative health coach and a lifestyle and wellness entrepreneur – will join the retreat to conduct workshops on the Power 9 principles; nine common lifestyle habits found in the original Blue Zones regions that support longevity and wellbeing.

Vadam expressed ambitions to host a retreat in all five Blue Zones this year in an exclusive interview with Spa Business.

So far, branded Blue Zones retreats are taking place in Kamalaya in Thailand, the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica and the Modern Elder Academy (MEA) in the US and Mexico.

Vadam says the organisation is actively looking for more hosts – check out the full interviewto learn more about the retreats' blueprint, revenue model, target demographics and other details.

Rates for the retreat start at 600,000 Japanese Yen per adult (US$3,801, €3,536, £2,993), excluding accommodation, which starts at 432,000 Japanese Yen for six nights (US$2,737, €2,546, £2,155).

About Halekulani Okinawa
Halekulani Okinawa, the second hotel from the Hawaiian resort of the same name, is located in Onna Village on the main island of Okinawa.

The property sits on 32 acres of lush land within the Okinawa Kaigan Quasi-National Park and faces approximately one mile of coastline.

Halekulani Okinawa is home to an array of facilities including the award-winning SpaHalekulani, a fitness centre, eight restaurants and a bar, in addition to a luxury boutique, meeting space and five swimming pools, one of which is adorned with nearly 1.5 million mosaic tiles in the shape of Halekulani's signature Cattleya orchid.



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