There is an island in Okinawa that is inhabited by just three villages, with bright white paths of coral sand,
one-story houses with red-tiled roofs,and gentle breezes carrying the colorful melodies of shamisen lutes.
These are traditions that have gone unchanged for centuries, not simply for historical preservation,
but because they have proven over time to offer the greatest comfort to residents and visitors alike.
HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island incorporates these very same traditions, infusing them with a measure of elegance
and sophistication so that guests may experience the same level of absolute comfort that the islanders do--
without sacrificing contemporary pleasures.
As you walk along the white sand paths connecting the pavilions in this resort village, you will remember that Taketomi is one of few areas in Japan where the scenery itself has been preserved since ancient times. Like all traditional housing on the island, HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island pavilions feature red-tiled roofs with shisa lion figurines, each with a unique expression, and are surrounded by walls built with stones of fossilized coral to protect from strong winds. Although aesthetically pleasing, these features, you realize, have been preserved because they are time-tested designs for making life comfortable on the island.
The real Taketomi only shows itself in the morning and evening. This is what the islanders will tell you, and it is true. Before the day-trippers arrive and after they leave, the island's pristine white beaches are gloriously empty; the only sound is the crashing waves. This same serenity also exists in HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island, where forty-eight pavilions--each one built using entirely traditional methods--stand in quiet solitude, as if this place was just another village on the island. "To know the island, you must live as we do," the islanders will also tell you. This, you come to realize during your stay, is also true.
When HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island first opened its doors, the white sand paths and coral stone walls sparkled with the fresh shine of something new. But from the observatory on the premises, you may see how time and natural elements have brought out the colors of these features; the resort now looks as if it has always been there, like a fourth village on the island. Walking through the premises, you come across a garden of nine curative herbs used by the islanders instead of medicine. Although still young, this village has slowly but surely begun to blend in with the rest of the island.
As you wander the premises, you hear singing coming from the Yuntaku Lounge; it reminds you of the ever-present shamisen music you hear whenever you visit one of the island's villages. Local musicians are holding a small concert, playing songs of love, home, and life--the holy trinity of Okinawan music. As the musicians perform a traditional Taketomi song, a deep warmth fills you up inside. You look around, and notice that everyone else seems to be experiencing the same feeling. The songs are treasures handed down from generation to generation, and the Yuntaku Lounge is where this wealth is shared.
You open the guest pavilion windows, and a brisk ocean breeze flows in, carrying chatter, footsteps, and birdsong. As soon as the wind dies, a peaceful silence visits the pavilion. You close your eyes, and it feels as if time itself has come to a halt. Suddenly, you realize you have not once checked the time since arriving on Taketomi. Each day, you wake up, eat, nap, swim in the pool, and take part in activities involving the local arts--not to follow some kind of itinerary, but because it feels right. This is the freedom you enjoy once you yield to the island's rhythms.
As you float in the middle of the pool, you tilt your head back to gaze up at the millions of stars twinkling in the pitch-black sky. From here, the land slopes up in all directions, hiding the surrounding buildings from sight. Your eyes fill with the rich tapestry of the Milky Way, the Seven Sisters, and other star clusters, shining more brightly than you've ever seen them. Such views are a luxury afforded by the inky blackness of Taketomi's nights, a near-mythical color that only reveals itself to those who have learned to embrace the night as the islanders have.
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