I had to circle Hamahiga Island twice before finding the narrow, earth road. An hour’s drive from Naha, a sign made from sliced bark pointed to Takaesu Seienjo, a salt factory hidden behind clumps of ficus, deigo and subtropical broadleaf trees.

According to records, commercial salt production in Okinawa began in a tidal wetland near Naha in 1694. In a 19th-century guidebook on diet therapy, a physician to the Ryukyuan royal court named Tokashiki Pechin Tsukan claimed that salt, known in Okinawan as “māsu,” “removes toxins, purifies qi energy, and expels lung diseases.”

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.