Seven Longevity Secrets of Shiga, a Japanese Blue Zone

I just uploaded a new video. This time it is about the longevity secrets of Shiga Prefecture.


Both Nagano and Shiga are ranked high in the national longevity rankings recently. In 2017’s ranking Shiga came in 1st for men beating Nagano for the first time. Shiga has 692 centenarians.

Seven Longevity Secrets of Shiga

1, Preventive Medicine

Like Nagano, the prefectural government of Shiga put a lot of energy into improving the health of people and one thing they did was to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Salt reduction movement was big here, too. They trained health advisors or supporters in each town and introduced recipes for making dishes without using too much salt.

2, Non-Smoking

Another thing the government did was to run a massive non-smoking campaign and succeeded in reducing the number of smokers. Shiga now has the highest number of non-smokers in the country.

3, Sports and Volunteer activities

The government also encouraged people to take part in sports and volunteer activities. The number of people doing sports in Shiga is the 2nd highest in the country for men and the 6th highest in the country for women. The number of people participating in volunteer activities is the 2nd highest in the country for men and the 4th highest in the country for women.

4, Seniors don’t live alone

The number of seniors living alone in Shiga is the lowest in the country. Most seniors live with their family and there is strong community support.

5, Reading many books

The number of books borrowed from the library in Shiga is the 2nd highest in the country. Reading books can help you prevent dementia, and it can be your ikigai, too.

6, Eating Fish

Like Nagano, Shiga doesn’t have the sea, but we have a lake. In the case of Nagano, they developed a culture of eating beans, in Shiga we ate fish from Lake Biwa. We got Omega 3 fatty acids from fish, which was lacking in the inland farming communities. Fish was usually consumed in fishing villages along the coast in the past. I wrote about how the dietary culture was influenced by their geographic location in the past in my book the Ikigai Diet.

7, Fermented Food

Just like anywhere else in Japan, we eat a lot of fermented foods such as miso and pickles, but what is unique about Shiga is that we developed a culture of fermenting fish. Funazushi, fermented crucian carp is a popular Kyodo Ryori, local dish.



The Ikigai Diet: The Secret Japanese Diet to Health and Longevity

POD Paperback