Spa World Osaka
Posted on Jun 19, 2012
On Tuesday we had planned to make a day trip from Osaka to Nara, but we awoke to very heavy rain and decided to find something a little drier to do for the day. What we decided to do for the day wasn't drier at all. After some research in the guide books and online, we found a place in Osaka called "Spa World" which has 8 floors of public baths and pools, as well as restaurants and salons where you can get all the spa treatments. It turned out to be a great way to spend a rainy day.
At first, we were a little shy about heading straight for the gender segregated hot tubs (naked is the rule here), so we changed and met up at the top floor's massive pool area. There were three awesome waterslides there, two of which we tried out with two person inner tubes. The better of the two involved gaining speed around a corner and then richocheting off a massive quarter pipe back into the pool. Good times!
The third slide was called the "Death Loop", which for 300 Yen promised to fully jam your bathing suit up your butt crack. Nicole had required some convincing to attempt the smaller slides, and so she (wisely) opted to watch me tackle the death loop from the TV screen on the pool deck below.
I climbed into the "launch chamber", which was shaped like a rocket, and received some charades-style instructions from the pool staff: Keep your head back, your arms across your chest, and your feet together. On the count of three (San, Nee, Ichi), the floor will drop out beneath you and you'll free-fall for a few seconds down the slide. Of course, the first thing I did when the floor dropped out was flail my arms around like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Luckily, the whole thing probably lasted 10 seconds, and that didn't really leave me enough time to get scared.
After a couple more loops around the lazy-river, we decided to try out the hot tub/sauna floors. Spa World has two floors of baths, one dubbed the Europe floor, and the other Asia. Every month the floors switch between being male or female designated, and while we were there Nicole drew the Asia floor and I the European floor.
The European floor was actually quite fantastic. Upon entry, there was a large roman style bath, with surprisingly tasteful roman style sculptures lining the room. After a quick soak, I proceeded to the Finland room, which featured two sauna's (hot and hotter) and a cold water bath. I enjoyed this one, as it reminded me of cottage life in Canada, when we would sit in the sauna and then sprint down the hill and dive into the lake.
After chilling in Finland for a while, I went to warm up again in the Greek area, which featured herbal baths and saunas. With a strong scent of (and this is just a guess, as all the signs were in Japanese) eucalyptus, mint & rosemary, the water was a thick white colour. The sauna here had a definite sinus-clearing effect. I also tried out a salt bath in the "Atlantis" section, which made my skin feel great and surprised me with just how much more boyant one is in salt water.
After that it was time to shower up, and meet Nicole in the lobby. She gave me her report of the Asian floor, which sounds like it would definitely be worth going back on the alternate next month to check out. A room with stone and cypress baths with different temperatures and an outdoor area sounded really nice. There was also a room with warm tatami mats to lie down on which received a positive review from Nicole.
I'd recommend spa world to anyone who plans to be in Osaka. I suspect that daytime on a weekday was the time to go, though, as I can see this place being much busier on the weekend. The total cost for us was a steal at around $25 (plus a few hundred yen for the waterslides, which were not included in admission).
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