On Miyako Island, the living is easy year-round. With its azure seas, beaches of dazzling white sand and an enviable climate that rarely dips below T-shirt temperature, this mellow, subtropical island in the far southwest of Japan feels like the ultimate get-away destination.

Located almost as close to Taiwan as it is to Okinawa’s main island, it is about as remote as you can get in Japan on a direct flight out of Tokyo. And for most visitors, that is its primary appeal: Once you’ve disembarked and transferred to your luxury resort accommodation, you can switch off and tune out the hassle and stress of life on the mainland.

However, at many hotels it’s all too easy to find yourself insulated from the local culture, not least Okinawa’s distinctive culinary traditions. Over the centuries, the island chain, once known as the Ryukyu Kingdom, developed its own cuisine, assimilating influences through a network of trading links with the Asian mainland, Southeast Asia and as far afield as Thailand.