Find your zen in Okinawa

Long known for being a diver’s paradise, the Japanese prefecture is quickly establishing itself as a wellness destination in its own right

Knead to relax

The Ryukyu Tinnadi is a uniquely local spa treatment where a therapist massages an essential oil into your skin using movements inspired by karate. There’s no “chopping” involved – instead, the therapist gently transfers her body weight to her elbow and arm to knead tension away. Try it at Hilton Okinawa Chatan Resort’s Amami Spa.

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Stretch it out

If you’re getting bored of practising your downward dog in a cramped yoga studio, then doing yoga in the sprawling shadow of the majestic Unesco-listed Nakagusuku Castle Ruins (pictured) will surely be a welcome change of scenery. Visit the listed Facebook page to find out when the next session will be held.

Get crafty

Studies have shown that crafting can help ease stress by helping you find a state of “flow” – where you’re so absorbed by the activity that nothing else seems to matter. In Okinawa, lose yourself by trying your hand at making bingata – Okinawan resist- dyed cloth made using stencils – under the guidance of an experienced craftsman.

Where to stay

If you’re heading to Okinawa, consider a stay at the recently renovated Novotel Okinawa Naha. Besides 328 chic, cosy guestrooms, the hotel offers four dining options, including Toki, which serves up authentic Okinawan cuisine. As a bonus, it’s just a 25-minute drive from Naha Airport and a short walk from the iconic Shuri Castle.

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