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AARP Bulletin

Tour the Longest-Living Place on Earth

Wakaho, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

En español l The Nakajima family takes a lunch break in their apple orchard while doing springtime pruning. Residents’ much improved diet and regular exercise have seen Nagano prefecture surpass Okinawa prefecture as having the longest life expectancy in Japan and hence the industrialized world.

Photo by James Whitlow Delano

Nagano Prefecture, Japan

Sake shop owner appears to have historic district in Suzaka all to himself.

Photo by James Whitlow Delano

Wakaho, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

Mrs. Hanegi, 90, weeds her vegetable plot near Wakaho, Nagano prefecture.

Photo by James Whitlow Delano.

Nagano Prefecture, Japan

Mr. Ikeda, "retirement age," drives a taxi in central Nagano City.

Photo by James Whitlow Delano

Between Hakuba and Kinasa, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

Anticipating the spring melt, an older woman living in a high mountain village clears drainage in what will become rice paddies.

Photo by James Whitlow Delano

Nakano, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

Mr. Kazu, 96, a WWII veteran, still navigates the streets of his hometown of Nakano by foot.

Photo by James Whitlow Delano

Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

In Japan, in general, and Nagano, in particular, it is not unusual for older residents to do work typical of much younger people.

Photo by James Whitlow Delano

Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

Throughout Japan, bicycles have never ceased to be a viable transportation option (and a contributor to cardiovascular health). Age is no deterrent to cyclists here, even if most bicycles are one-speed clunkers.

Photo by James Whitlow Delano

Takayama, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

A bridge leads into the remote canyon where Yamada Onsen sits. A half-century ago, the mountains of Nagano prefecture isolated villages and limited food sources. Residents ate large portions of salt-cure vegetables leading to a low life-expectancy. Not so today.

Photo by James Whitlow Delano

Suzaka, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

 Suzaka resident makes life easy for her dog.

Photo by James Whitlow Delano

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