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I need a bigger towel - Spa World Pt2

Osaka Travel Blog

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Random Observation/Comment #: That’s a negative on facial hair. Please stop trying, Clemens. It looks like patchy seaweed.
Spa world is divided into basically 4 main floors of entertainment: 8F swimming pool family area, 6F women only Asian spa, 4F men only European spa, and 3F food.
The top floor (8F) is the large public swimming pool for families to play in the slides and swim in the large water-current lead course circling the inner perimeter. You wear your own bathing suit when you come here (so please don’t make the mistake of showing up naked in front of young children). The water is about a meter deep and the current flows counter-clockwise as you stare at the large water structures placed in the middle as the main attraction. I think you have to pay for a blue concert-type wristband to use this, but it looks well worth the money. You sit on this raft and you go through a long series of tubes to end up flying up a large orange slide, before plummeting backwards into the larger public pool. I decided against it because it looked like no one older than 18 was riding this.
I did two laps around the pool to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, and then proceeded to the 4F for the European spa. I felt naked without my notebook (and I was also literally naked because I wasn’t wearing any clothes). The orange towel really didn’t leave anything to the imagination, and I guess you don’t want any of the guys around you imagining anything (::shutters::). Stare at the ceiling and the walls, if you’re uncomfortable. The whole relaxing factor at this place would probably be useless if you’re nervous around other naked men.
The European spa is broken into the follow parts with different water temperatures and “solutions” for loosening your muscles. Each place had an instruction manual (written in Japanese) on what order to follow in order to maximize the opening of pores or whatever. I just did what I usually do, which is a cold bath to a sauna to a hot bath. You’ll find these categories repeat for whichever section you choose.
Rome greets you with a beautiful fountain and large statues. The sauna here felt more steam based because the condensation builds up on the roof and fell to scald my bare skin. I was saying “Ow” every few seconds, and the showerhead they have on the exit is extremely hot. My second favorite bath was the main fountain with bubbles coming from the center. Not only was the temperature perfect, but the bubbles and atmosphere created by the walls and ceiling lighting really made me happy. There’s a cold bath called the “Golden bath” but it is way too cold if you’ve already felt the nice warm water.
Following the left walls, you’ll find the Blue Cave next. The water in the blue cave is ridiculously hot. It has the dark and eerie lighting, but you’ll want to get out in 5 minutes. Actually, I wouldn’t suggest staying in any of these baths for longer than 10 minutes. There are about 15 baths/saunas to try, so you’ll definitely be wrinkly after going through all of them. In the blue cave area, there are also 3 single baths with very murky, white water. I think it has some type of chemical (like blue cave shyt) but the temperature was a relief. Next was the salt sauna (if you have open wounds, this place sucks). The correct course of action is to go inside and cover yourself with salt from the large monument thingy used for holding salt. From here, you just sit there letting your sweat dissolve the salt so the nutrients (or something) soak into your pores. I didn’t know I had a cut on my leg until I came here – ouch. The crappy three second shower outside the salt sauna didn’t help either. Backup plan: Jump into another boiling pool.
There is a foot bath area embedded into a little bar so you could soak your feet while enjoying an expensive drink (they add at least 30% from what you can get outside of the European spa area – You know it’s an economy when they have inflated prices even when you’re in a place with a centrally controlled economy). Skip this place because it’s a rip-off, unless you want to sit around on wet chairs and watch some TV with a refreshing beer – actually that doesn’t sound too bad.
The prize is the Mediterranean spa behind the concession stand. The waterfall was my favorite. You stand under it as the hot water gives you a free back massage. Any sounds are drowned out by the splashing water, but it’s definitely relaxing. There was no cold bath or sauna here – just clear warm water with lawn chairs and Jacuzzi jets. I think they even put an artificial sky to make the waterfall cooler.
Finland is filled with crazy people. It was nice that they didn’t pretend Finland had any outdoor warm baths, so they put a freezing one with a bridge. By even the slightest touch and my balls began to recede. Run away to the sauna. Oh wait, the sauna is temperature based instead of steam, so you’re basically being roasted alive. The extreme hot and cold did a toll on my external organs.
Greece has a set of herbs based warm baths that you cycle through to do some more moisturizing. The brown color makes me a little nervous, but I didn’t smell like herbs, so it was like every other bath. The sauna here was regular.
And lastly, there’s Atlantis (I forgot this one’s name, but my made-up name seems fitting), which was basically warm salt water baths with little fishes swimming in tanks beside you. It wasn’t anything too exciting, but they had to have a salt-water ocean theme somewhere.
After you try all of these places, there are stations with liquid soap and shampoo to take a shower. It’s the Japanese shower, so they give you a little seat and a face bowl with a showerhead. There are also disposable toothbrushes and shavers if you’re really spending the night.
On the same floor (4F) is a room with 81 lounging chairs and 20 TVs. They provide blankets so I only assume that they let you sleep here overnight. I guess this is what a homeless person would do when they save up money (At least this is what I would do if I were homeless and saved up money).
You are unable return if you want to leave the building to grab food because they are trying to run a business in their inflated economy. The restaurant floor (3F) was quite impressive. They had almost any typical Japanese food I could think of – noodle shop, katsu, curry, something over rice, ramen set-o, okonomiyaki (omg omg omg), rice in an omelet, and assorted sweets. I think you know what I chose. The choice was not because I love okonomiyaki (omg omg omg), but rather the fact that it’s a little more difficult to find than a side shop for curry udon or something mundane.
I thought the making of okonomiyaki was more complicated, but it’s just chopped lettuce with some meat and two raw eggs. You oil the pan and put the lettuce in a circular shape. After 2 minutes, you sandwich the meat with the rest of the lettuce. You then let it sit for about 5 minutes, and then flip (lower the flame intensity and sit for another 5 minutes) until you get a nice crisp. The most interesting part is that the meat inside slowly cooks by a method similar to steaming. Oiishi. The sauce is the key, so be sure to get extra sauce.
I had already spent 4 hours here, and it’s only an extra 300 yen for the rest of the day. I wound up taking a nap watching some Japanese talk shows, and then going another round in the waterfall and warm tubs. Right before I left, I was actually approached by an old Japanese businessman. I’m normally very friendly, but it’s different when the first impression someone sees is my shlong in a hot bath. I think he spoke to me because he wanted to know what the sign said. None-the-less, being approached in this state is awkward to say the least.
He was a businessman recovering from a rough surgery, so he goes to onsens on weekends to stay healthy. It was weird, but I’m glad he spoke some English. I think he wanted to ask me how I stayed healthy so he could do the same. I just said I was 21, and he understood it was my youth that was keeping me in shape. I was too afraid that he would invite me to dinner and turn this into a terrible horror story, so I dodged my way out of there early.
After a long day of baths, there’s nothing else to do but sleep and dream. I hadn’t dreamt since I gotten here because I miss my dream-mattress that spoils me with a never disappointing perfect night’s rest. It was a good dream. I think I’ll go here again next month. They have monthly alternations of the men and women for the European and Asian spas.
~See Lemons Relieved

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photo by: yasuyo