Originally launched in 2020, Netflix’s popular series Love is Blind has engaged viewers around the world with its unconventional premise, challenging its male and female participants to fall in love without ever seeing the face of their prospective partners. After a successful first season, the concept has gone global, with a Japanese take on the formula currently airing on the streaming service.
If you’re up to date on your episodes, you’re likely already familiar with the Hoshinoya Okinawa, the oceanside luxury property hosting the hopeful couples. With multiple properties across Japan offering everything from the traditional Japanese inn (ryokan) experience to conifer-covered cabins in the shadow of Mt. Fuji, the Hoshinoya name is one that prospective visitors to Japan should get familiar with.
The 150-odd islands that comprise the sun-and-sand prefecture of Okinawa give the distinct impression of being transplanted to Japan directly from the Caribbean. Yet, within the gusuku-style stone walls of the Hoshinoya Okinawa in the pastoral village of Yomitan, the culture and style of both Okinawa and Japan at large take center stage.
Past the stark fortress gates, architects Rie Azuma and Hiroki Hasegawa have put great care into balancing Modernist flourishes with traditional touches like Okinawan dye art and an assortment of groves, orchards, and farms. While the resort could have likely rested on its laurels and relied on its incredible ocean views, it’s clear that every effort was made to elevate the experience. Laboriously maintained footpaths wind throughout the open-air amenities, allowing the guest to soak up both the golden sun and the scent of the bougainvilleas as they head to the beach or spa.
The true essence of Hoshinoya Okinawa’s design philosophy is communicated through its collection of oceanfront suites and villas, each one encouraging its inhabitants to embrace the ocean breeze with wide windows, a personal garden, and expansive balconies. Creamy interiors and wooden walls provide a touch of contemporary warmth while the sandy texture of the exterior pays homage to beaches only steps away.
Okinawan art adorns the wall of most bedrooms depicting scenes from the famously relaxed daily life of the islanders. Most suite types incorporate traditional furnishings like sliding doors and tatami flooring in some fashion, with variants like the Haru, Tin, and Deluxe Fushi offering special considerations for ocean gazers, couples, and large groups, respectively. Many also boast access to private, 20-meter pools – just in case you don’t feel like walking down to either Gima or Nirai beach that day.
There’s much more to say about the attractions of the Hoshinoya Okinawa – its novel fusion of Sicilian and Japanese cuisine, its horseback riding and reef-diving excursions, and its wellness-focused martial arts dojo – but perhaps we’ve said enough: the rest is best experienced for yourself. While you may not find someone to fall in love with during your stay, you’ll definitely fall in love with the tempo and charm of Okinawa, firmly establishing this modern ‘castle on the beach’ as one for the bucket list.