Known as a village of longevity, Ogimi is surrounded by nature including forests that occupy nearly 80 percent of the village’s total area and a line of limestone hills. Shikwasa (Citrus depressa) is a specialty product of the village, which is also known as the village of Kijoka bashofu (the art of making textiles from basho, or Japanese fiber banana). Recognized for having the highest proportion of elderly persons in Japan, the village issued a “Greatest Longevity in Japan” declaration in 1993. Grandmothers and grandfathers can be seen enjoying gateball (Japanese croquet) or working in fields. The feelings of these elderly persons can be sensed in the following passages of the longevity declaration: “At 80 years old, I am still a child. When I come to see you at 90, send me away to wait until I’m 100. Let us keep going strong as we get older and not depend too much on our children in old age.”
The Longevity Meal available at Emi no Mise, a restaurant that has been gaining worldwide attention by offering the type of meals enjoyed by the long-lived local residents, is highly recommended. The creative meal requiring laborious preparation using simple ingredients such as seasonal herbs, island vegetables harvested in the village and local seafood is impressive.Yanbaru Yokocho, located near Emi no Mise and the only restaurant in the area open at night, offers free shuttle service for two or more customers and is a place to chat with locals.
If you visit Ogimi Village, which accounts for more than 60 percent of shikwasa production in the prefecture, you must try vitamin C rich shikwasa juice, considered to be one of the factors of Okinawan longevity.Gajimanro, a cafe surrounded by green mountains, is another place to spend a relaxing time if you are visiting northern Okinawa.
In addition, visitors are recommended to attend Ungami, a traditional festivity that is rare even in Okinawa and that has also been designated an important intangible national cultural asset. Through their five senses, spectators will be able to understand the best of Ogimi Village – the attractiveness of the natural environment and the local residents.