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 and 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 within a short 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. 3 hours from Narita (NRT), 2.5 hours from Osaka (KIX), 1.5 hours from Fukuoka (FUK). OKA also has some direct flights to some Asian cities like Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, and Beijing.
If you are arriving at Naha in the morning of Day 1 of the class, you can just take a highway bus straight to Ginoza. Remember to feed yourself in a restaurant at the airport. The class starts at 14:00 and you should be fed by then. 12:20 bus will take you to Ginoza at 13:41.
If you are arriving a day before the class, instead of going straight to Ginoza, you should spend a night in Naha. Naha downtown is only 10-minute away from the airport. There’s a monorail you can take too. There are many restaurants and shops within walking distance. And you can take a bus the next day from Naha Bus Terminal, 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 domestic terminal as this is where the route starts.
Bus fee as of April 2021
From domestic terminal to Ginoza, JPY1810.
From Naha bus terminal to Ginoza, JPY1720.
If you arrive at the international airport, this is the second stop for the highway bus 111 or 117. But the domestic terminal has much more restaurants and shops. You may want to walk for 5 minutes over to the domestic terminal to wait for your bus.
Let us know beforehand which bus you are planning to take so that we will arrange your pickup at the Ginoza IC bus stop. It would help us if you all take the one which arrives at Ginoza at 13:41.
The highway bus gets out of the highway at every exit and back on to the next. 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. If no one presses the button, the drive may just pass your stop.
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 if you bring quick dry swim towel, it’s very convenient everywhere you go.
There’s a money exchange at the international terminal of Naha airport. And the domestic terminal has a small bank branch where you can exchange some currencies. Most shops in Naha accept credit cards. Taxi does, too. Also, Ginoza grocery store and the convenience store accept credit cards. So, you won’t need much cash except for the tuition and the bus fare.
Tuition can also be paid by a credit card too, but we will have to charge you an extra 4% for the credit card fee. Bringing cash and exchanging currency is actually the cheapest way. In case you need Japanese Yen cash more than you have converted, we can help you.
There’s public wifi in the spa facility where we do the class, but not at your lodge. You should buy a pre-paid SIM or rent a WIFI router at the airport. Please arrange your own internet access. There are several services you can find on the web.
How am I doing the class?
Day 1 starts at 14:00. We will do the orientation and go into the water class. At the end of the day, we will take you to the grocery store for your shopping for the week.
Every morning at 9:00, we will meet at the land class at the spa, followed by the water class through the morning. Lunch at 13:00. We take a long lunch break. Your lodge is only a 3-minute walk from the spa so that you can go back to your room for a nap. Then we will meet in the water at 15:00. The water class will finish at 18:00. Dinner will be 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.
Lodging is a basic apartment for daily rent near the spa. It’s basic Japanese Tatami rooms to share with your classmates. 4 people max in a room. Sexes will be separated. The room has a simple kitchen, shower & bathroom, refrigerator, futon beddings, TV, and air condition. The air condition needs coins to operate. JPY100 for 2 hours.
If you need to arrange a room on your own, it can be arranged upon availability. Extra JPY1000 per night. You should arrange it in advance as the single rooms are limited. Let us know when you sign up for the class.
Lunch and dinner will be provided in boxes or in catering style from local restaurants. We care for food and try to choose handmade, local, simple but good foods, but we have to admit that sometimes the resource is limited in this rural area.
The vegetarian diet is actually very difficult to do in Japan unless you cook for yourself. If you have a food allergy, please let us know. But preferences are very difficult to meet, but you can tell us beforehand and we will see if it’s possible. If you take out what you don’t like from the dish and you are OK, then you don’t have to let us know.
How am I getting back?
Plan your flight back
Class ends around 15:00.
We will drive you to the highway bus stop and catch the 16:21 bus. That will take you to the airport at 17:32. If you have to leave Naha on the last day, book a flight that departs after 19:30.
If you have to book a flight earlier than that, please let us know beforehand so that we will arrange the class for you to leave early.
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 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. You can find it on booking.com too. It’s a small room, but clean, comfortable and cheap, with good access to public transportation in Naha.
You need a car to get around in Ginoza and we may not be able to provide a car ride before and after the class. But if you still want to stay extra night in Ginoza, let us know and we will help you.
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, but still, the signals may be weak in Ginoza for video streaming. 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.