Where am I heading?
is in a sub-tropical climate. In the summer (Jun to Sep), the highest is about 30C to 32C degrees (upper F80s), the lowest is about 25C to 26C degrees (upper F70s). In the winter (Dec to Mar), the highest is 19C to 21C (upper F60s), and the lowest is 14C to 16C (upper F50s). Mostly a T-shirt, shorts, beach sandals situation.
Beautiful coral reefs all around the island. Great beaches and snorkeling spots. Tourism is the major industry here. Okinawa has been its own kingdom for centuries. It was a trading country between Japan, China, and Southeast Asia. The culture is, very different from the rest of Japan, a very unique mixture of all those countries.
Okinawa is renowned for its traditional longevity. It is listed in Blue Zone, 5 places in the world with the highest concentration of centenarians. The warm climate, a traditional diet with local vegetables with many medical properties, slow lifestyle with strong community bonds, and many others are considered as the elements for such longevity.
is right in the middle of the Okinawa main island. About 1-hour drive on the highway from Naha downtown and the airport. There’s a highway bus from the airport, thru the downtown bus terminal, to reach Ginoza within 1 hour 20 minutes.
Ginoza is a rural village, where agriculture and fishing is the main industry. There is a convenience store in 10-minute walk from the class (or from your lodge). There is a grocery store within a short drive, but not by walk. We provide you a car ride to the grocery store on Day 1 for your shopping. You can get breakfast, drinks, snacks, and other groceries for the week. You are encouraged to bring from home whatever you need to make your stay as comfortable as it can be. Don’t expect to get much from our local stores.
How do I get there?
Naha international airport (OKA) hosts domestic flights to Japan’s major international airports like Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka, and some international flights from Asian countries. 3 hours from Narita (NRT), 2.5 hours from Osaka (KIX), 1.5 hours from Fukuoka (FUK).
Typically, the class starts at 14:00 on Day 1 (6-day class schedule). If you are arriving at Naha in the morning, you can just take a highway bus straight to Ginoza. Remember to have lunch before you get on the bus, like a restaurant at the airport. 12:20 bus from the domestic airport terminal will take you to Ginoza at 13:41.
Sometimes the class starts at 9:00 (5-day class schedule). Fly into Okinawa the day before and stay a night in Naha. Naha downtown is only 10-minute away from the airport. There’s a monorail you can take from the airport too. There are many restaurants and shops within walking distance. And you can take a bus the next day from Naha Bus Terminal. 7:30 bus will take you to Ginoza at 8:54. 12:30 bus to Ginoza at 13:41.
Just outside the domestic terminal on the 1st floor, you will see #2 bus stop. The highway bus, Number “111”, will start here. No reservation is needed.
When you get on a bus, take a ticket which has a number on it. The number represents which bus stop you ride on. Then you pay cash when you get off. There may be no ticket vending at the airport terminal as this is where the route starts.
Bus fee as of April 2021
From airport to Ginoza, JPY1810.
From Naha bus terminal to Ginoza, JPY1720.
If you arrive at the international terminal, you should walk for 5 minutes over to the domestic terminal, and you will see many restaurants and shops. Don’t forget to stop by at the money exchange which is located in the international terminal, if you don’t have any Japanese Yen for your bus ride.
The highway bus gets out of the highway at every highway exit. After your bus leaves the previous stop, Kin, you should press the button near your seat to let the driver know you are getting off at the next stop Ginoza. If no one presses the button, the drive may just pass it.
Let Toru Know
Toru will be there to pick you up at Ginoza IC.
Please send a message to let him know you are coming on time or if you have any troubles. He’ll be happy to help you.
Contact Toru Ogasawara:
WhatsApp: (JAPAN) +81 9098565386
What should I bring?
Light clothing is enough in Okinawa for most of the year. Maybe a sweater or 2 for the night in the spring and fall. In January and February, it can be windy and chilly. Still, sweaters are usually good enough.
There is a washing machine at your lodge. Towels are provided at your lodge, also at the spa that we do the class in. But it is highly recommended that you will bring a quick-dry swim towel as we will be getting in and out of the pool so many times in a day.
Most shops in Naha area accept credit cards. Taxi does, too. Ginoza grocery store and the convenience stores accept credit cards. You won’t need cash except for the bus fare. You just need a bit of Japanese Yen cash.
There’s a money exchange at Naha airport, on 2nd floor, international area.
There are ATMs in Naha Airport that accept foreign cards. 7-Bank ATMs. One on the 1st floor of the international terminal, and one on the 2nd floor of the domestic terminal. These ATMs allow you to withdraw cash by credit and debit cards issued outside of Japan, including Visa, Plus, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, Union Pay, American Express and JCB cards. Other ATMs do not.
There’s free wifi at Naha Airport, in the spa facility where we do the class, and also at your lodge. You will be pretty much covered except for times you are moving. You should prepare to use your global roaming service or buy a pre-paid SIM for any emergency and contact with Toru.
What's it like to be in the class?
At the start of the class, we will check in for the orientation and go into the water class. At the end of Day 1, we will take you to the grocery store for your shopping for the week (drinks, breakfast and snacks).
Every morning at 9:00, we will meet for 90-min land class at the spa. Your lodge is either within walking distance from the spa or we provide daily transportation from/to the spa. The land class is followed by the water class for the rest of the morning. Lunch at 13:00. We take a long lunch break for you to refresh. Then we will meet in the water at 15:00. The water class will finish at 18:00. Dinner will be served at 20:00. Until then, you are free to practice in the pool, get professional sessions, watch the video, review the class, or just rest.
On the last day, hopefully, we will finish all the class materials by the day before, then in the morning we will review, answer your questions, and let you just practice and get ready for the celebration session in the afternoon. We will finish by 15:30 and drive you to Ginoza IC bus stop to catch the 16:21 bus bound to Naha.
Since COVID, we changed our lodging policy to be single occupancy. We arrange a B&B type of accommodation. It has 5 double rooms which we will use for single occupancy without any meals. Breakfast can be arranged at your request for JPY1500. They provide daily transport to/from the spa. Each room has free WiFi, TV, refrigerator, hair dryer, tooth brush, air condition and shower amenities. There’s also coin-operated washing machine and dryer for guests.
There’s another lodging we may use, which is located within 5-minute walk from the spa. It’s all tatami rooms for couples of people to share. We may use this accomodation when we have a big class. But we will ask each students when we do, and we will offer discount as it is not single occupancy.
If you have to stay extra nights before or after the class, please find your hotel in Naha. It will be much easier in Naha for you to get around with public transportation and walking than in Ginoza.
There are many hotels in Naha from budget ones to luxury ones. If you don’t want to bother looking for a suitable hotel, we recommend Kariyushi LCH Izumisaki. You can find it on booking.com too. It’s a small room, but clean, comfortable and cheap, with good access to the downtown main street and to the public transportation to Naha airport.
Lunch and dinner will be provided in boxes or in catering style from local restaurants. We try to choose handmade, local, simple but good foods, but we have to admit that the resource is very limited in this rural area.
The vegetarian diet is actually very difficult to do in Japan unless you cook for yourself. We can’t offer vegetarian meals, though we always try to offer vegetable-rich meals. If you have a food allergy, please let us know. Individual preferences are very difficult to meet, but you can tell us beforehand and we will see if it’s possible.
How can I prepare for the class?
During Watsu 1 or Watsu 2 class, you will be watching the demonstration video over and over, trying to memorize the sequence. The demonstration videos by Toru are available up on YouTube.
You should prepare your mobile or WiFi connection. It is very advisable to download the video from YouTube to your smartphone beforehand by solid wifi connection in the city.
Don't be shy.
It’s very important for us that you feel safe and comfortable at all times and stay focused on your learning. That’s difficult sometimes in a foreign country with a culture that you are not familiar with. Let us know beforehand if you have questions and requests.