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Aging gracefully: Japanese men who refuse to die young

How 'ikigai' and the 'Shiga rhythm' are boosting lifespans

Life expectancy in Japan soars well above global averages for both men and women. Within the country, the region that holds the top spot for male longevity is Shiga, a prefecture of 1.4 million people that has a low profile, even in Japan. Yet it's clearly doing something right. While the global average lifespan for men hovers at about 70, those in Shiga typically survive to nearly 82.

Getting there is easy. A bullet train will take you from Tokyo to Kyoto; then a 10-minute ride on a local line will deposit you in Otsu, Shiga's compact capital, which lies on the southern edge of Lake Biwa, Japan's biggest freshwater lake. Even on a bracing winter's day you'll spot residents out and about on the pine-fringed sand of Sunshine Beach.

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