Japan's tropical side
Okinawa Prefecture is an easy 2- to 3-hour flight from Tokyo, Osaka and several other cities in Japan, China and Korea. But in many respects, this group of islands is a million miles away from its mainland neighbours.
Subtropical Okinawa has year-round warm weather and hundreds of powdery white beaches, while a protected habitat of corals, sealife, ancient forests and rare species makes for a nature-lovers' paradise.
And people here must know something about relaxation -- a high percentage of the Okinawan population lives beyond 100. A laid-back attitude, close-knit communities and vegetable-rich cuisine all contribute to the islanders' longevity.
So after the dazzling lights and frenetic pace of city life, escape to Okinawa for an entirely different Japanese experience.