5 Secrets to Japanese Longevity | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

5 Secrets to Japanese Longevity

By Guidable Writers Oct 1, 2017




The Japanese now rank 2nd as the longest living people in the world and they have been so for the past decade. Not only do they live long, but they live powerful and energetic even to their 70s. Where else will you see elderly people going around in bicycles, working in fields and taking hiking trips up mountain trails? And it’s no wonder that they live long and healthy. Though they are not completely aware of it, Japanese elderly have a number of healthy daily habits that contribute to their unending youthful energy. Unfortunately, these habits have not all been passed on to the younger generation with their modernized western lifestyle. Let’s talk about what these habits are and see what you can incorporate into your lifestyle.


1.Tea is a drink while juice and softdrinks are “snacks”

Some elderly Japanese are shocked to see juice or softdrinks at the meal table. Those are considered oyatsu “snacktime treats“. Notice the amount and variety of tea at the vending machines and the convenience store fridges? Half the drinks are tea, because tea are thought to go with meals all the time. There are very many benefits in drinking tea resgularly. It helps keep you slim AND keeps tooth decay and apparently cold bacteria away. But NOT the sugared tea (I’ve seen sugared green tea abominations abroad).



2.Eat In-Season Fruits, Vegetables and Fish

Eating shun, in season, is another healthy Japanese habit. Nowadays we can eat any sort of food at any time of the year thanks to modern technology, and it is a luxury that our generation should fully enjoy. Though we don’t have to avoid foods not in season, it is still beneficial for your health to keep in mind what foods are in season, for fruits and vegetables have all their nutrition intact. And also going along with the season makes you eat a wider variety of foods, and not just your favorites, hence a wider variety of vitamins and minerals. Also, try to eat a well-balanced 4-dish meal instead of a big one-disher. The ideal Japanese dinner always has 1. rice or bread 2. a main dish 3. a side dish and 4. soup. The reasons why taking so much trouble to cook 4 dishes are: a 4-dish meal has a bigger chance of providing a wider variety of nutrition and, with 4 dishes one tends to eat slower, which is just great for digestions. Slower eating also leads to feeling full with a less amount of food.



3.Check out the Rajio Taiso, or …Radio Exercise?

Some grade schools still keep up the tradition of Rajio Taiso, a short exercise program regularly taken early in the morning, with the children lined and exercising to cheerful and rhythmical piano music. Grandpas and grandmas also keep up the practice at home along with NHK’s early morning Rajio Taiso program. If you are having trouble changing to an early biological rhythm, switch on that Rajio Taiso and feel revved up in the morning!



4.Walk or Take the Bicycle To Work

Recent research has proven that people who go to work or school have longer live longer than car and vehicle commuters. Although long distances to work make it impossible for some people, some who can walk or bicycle to work prefer to do so, and it is not only to save gasoline. The Japanese make a habit of walking early in life by having their school children all go to and go home from school this way, lined up orderly and on time. Walking time can take from 10 up to 40 minutes depending on the distance from the house to school. In middle school, children go around on bicycles.


5.Take A Bath Every Night

A daily bath is excellent for maintaining a good rhythm for your bodily temperature. It regulates blood flow and quite as importantly,  resets your mood from the stresses of the day. An hour of bath is not necessary, some take up 10 minutes only, but it does wonders to your heart. Your body will learn to sleep early and regularly too.



Looking at these 5 habits, Japanese-like longevity is not such a difficult thing to achieve after all. Though many people would rather have a simpler elixir of youth, long age is, after all, a cumulation of moments, and therefore days, months and years. What other solution is there than to live life fully and work hard day by day, moment by moment? Though some may be hard to practice in other countries, taking a bath in a country short of water and drinking tea where there are no naturally grown tea leaves, if you live in Japan, it is worth a try adopting these habits. Wouldn’t it be great to look slimmed down and vibrating with health in your pictures you show back home? Let’s start a healthy habit life!


Tricia, Philippines