If you want to experience an Only in Japan experience, you should spend an afternoon or evening at an onsen (or public bathing house). Dipping into an onsen for a few hours is a relaxing and enjoyable way to rejuvenate the body in an inexpensive and uninhibited way. If you are looking for the Rolls Royce of onsens, I recommend visiting Spa World Osaka. You will be amazed by how seriously they take onsens here.
I spent an evening at Spa World back on 11 May 2017 after a long day. I visited after visiting Tennōji Park and its surround. Originally I thought the entry ticket was over 2,000 yen, but was surprised to see that the ticket machine displayed that the entry ticket was just 1,200 yen.
If you have even been to an onsen before, you know the deal. If not, you need to understand that you will have to bathe in your birthday suit, e.g. no clothes, not even underwear or swim shorts. You will be told off by the employees if you wear clothes in the water and you’d probably just be making unnecessary scenes. If you are concerned, you can take their small towel and cover your privates as you move from bath to bath. (Again, you draw more attention to yourself if you are acting like a clown. The bath rooms are steamy, but you can still see everything above water.) Don’t worry about being in your birthday suit, since you are likely to never meet these people again. So give yourself a break and do it.
When you purchase your ticket, you hand it in at the counter in exchange for a wristband (which is waterproof) to access your locker and pay for various things. Once you are at your locker (which is pretty big), grab a towel first and then take off all your clothes and put them in the locker. After that, you are free to wander the onsen. As a courtesy to others, remember to give yourself a quick rinse under a shower head. The other thing to keep in mind is that you should, before jumping into a hot onsen, gently pour some of the bath’s water on your lower half to acclimatize your body to the water’s temperature. Once your body understands the temperature, take off your towel and step inside. (Don’t jump in or splash other people. You’ve just gone full naked, so you don’t want exactly want to be drawing other people’s attention as you are getting into the bath.)
For the onsen, it is incredible how beautiful and stylish the interior of the onsen looks. Depending on the month, males and females can experience either the European Zone or Asian Zone. Of course, the sexes are separated so there are no mix bathing in either of these special zones. If you are here with the opposite sex, you should plan in advance when you should meetup and where and pay attention to the clocks on the walls.
I visited during the month when men were allowed to roam the European Zone. Here, there were so many incredible onsens curated for the Romans of old, with beautiful porcelain, cream architecture throughout. It was like wandering the halls of an old European/Roman chateau. (You really need to look at the photos for this place. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any, because of obvious reasons.) It’s simply amazing how nice the interior looks. I was just dazzled. The bathing options include herbal baths, different temperature baths, open-air and non-open air baths, and bubble or non-bubble baths. Try them all. When you consider the size and scope of Spa World, I simply can’t think of a more unique onsen in Japan.
Overall, I had a great time. I spent most of my time in the herbal bath (which was the all-white bath). I soaked myself in pretty much all the baths and spent around 2 to 3 hours at the venue. (I made sure to stay out when my skin got wrinkly.) The whole experience felt rejuvenating and refreshing. I closed my eyes in most of baths and probably sat in most of them for about 10 to 15 minutes in a kind of trance.
If you wanted to get a massage or purchase anything, you can just show your wristband’s number and they will just add it to the tab (which you can pay before you leave). Once you get out of the bath, you have access to use all the amenities from hair tonic to various creams and their massage chairs.
Spa World Osaka also has a hotel and other facilities if you want to use them.
If you want more information about Spa World Osaka (including seeing the interior photos), you can visit their website (which is translated into English) here.
Spa World Osaka is located here at 3 Chome-4-24 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002, Japan:
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