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Living in the sea

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According to late makeup guru Shu Uemura, we come from the sea, and its waters contain all the elements that our bodies need. That was the logic behind setting up Utoco Deep Sea Therapy Center & Hotel in Japan, far off the beaten track in Kochi, on the subtropical island of Shikoku. Unlike any other spa on earth, the revolutionary center uses water pulled from the deepest depths of the ocean.

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Thalassotherapy (using sea water for curative purposes) isn’t new by any means. It’s just that surface water lacks in trace elements like potassium, calcium, and magnesium which are abundant in deep sea water.

At Utoco, they collect the water from 374 meters off the Muroto coast and 1000m under the surface, to pump into pools, beauty products and even food (which is sourced mostly from the sea nearby).

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Kochi, which takes an hour by plane then two hours by car to get to, is not the kind of place that trendy Tokyo-ites would normally visit. But Uemura loved isolation, places untouched by constant visitors. And it has great water.

In keeping with this sense of isolation, Utoco only has 17 rooms, and its design is sparing, white on white. Created by Japanese/French designers Ciel Rouge, it’s perched on pylons on a hillside over the surf, so views of the oceans are endless. ‘It’s as though you are living in the sea,’ said Uemura. ‘You can listen, watch, and breathe it.’

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Guests are invited to indulge in jet baths, soak pools and a sage-scented hammam, drench themselves in Deepsea Moisture skincare products, brush their teeth with mineral toothpaste, and sip on glasses of saline water. You can even inhale seawater mist in a dark room that simulates being at the bottom of the ocean. Without creepy long-tentacled creatures to interrupt your state of bliss. RM

Images: Utoco

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