Spa World is a gigantic hot spring theme park in the Shinsekai area of Osaka. The facilities include a variety of internationally-themed hot spring baths and saunas which are separated by gender, swimming pool areas with water slides, restaurants, a kids play area, a sports gym, a tanning salon, massage services, a souvenir shop, and a hotel.
The Onsen Baths
There are two natural hot spring bathing zones: the European Zone on the 4th floor and the Asian Zone on the 6th floor. These zones are each assigned a gender which switches over each month. So for example during odd-numbered months the European Zone can only be used by women, and the Asian Zone can only be used by men. During even-numbered months the European Zone can only be used by men and the Asian Zone can only be used by women.
In the European Zone you can find a variety of gorgeously themed bathing areas such as the Ancient Rome themed Jacuzzi, the Greek themed medicinal bath, and the Finnish bath house and sauna. The Asian Zone has more typically Japanese style hinoki cypress wood baths, as well as Persian and Balinese style baths. Both zones have open air bathing areas, a variety of saunas, and mud spas.
How to Use Japanese Public Baths
Wearing underwear or swimwear or wrapping yourself in a towel in the bathing areas is not allowed. You can use a small hand towel to cover yourself when moving around the bathrooms. However, you should not put the towel into the bath water. Most people either leave their hand towels by the side of the tub or put it on top of their head. There is also a fixed procedure to using Japanese public baths which you should follow when using the onsen facilities at Spa World.
- Rinse yourself off carefully before you enter the baths
- Soak in the bathtubs
- Wash yourself with soap outside of the bathtubs
- Have another soak in the bathtubs
- Rinse yourself off before you leave
- Wipe off excess water before entering the changing rooms
The main rule to remember is that you should never use soap or shampoo inside the bathtubs. However, Spa World also has the following regulations:
- Customers with tattoos are not allowed to use the baths
- Customer with long hair should tie up their hair
- Photography is not permitted in the bathing areas or changing rooms
The Ganban-Yoku Stone Saunas
There are 8 internationally themed stone saunas on the 3rd floor. These saunas are in a separate area to the onsen baths and require a separate fee: 800 yen on weekdays, and 1000 yen on weekends. Once you have entered the sauna area you can stay in it for as long as you like. This area is open from 10.00 to 18.00 with last entry at 17.00.
The Swimming Pool Area
The swimming pool area is on the 8th floor and comes with water slides, rides, and an outdoor hot pool with a view. Here you will have to wear a swimming costume but if you forget to bring one they have rental swimwear available for 600 yen. The swimming pools in this area are included in the general entry fee, but to use the slides and rides there is a separate fee.
There is a huge kids play area on the 3rd floor with climbing frames, slides, and a ball pool. To use it requires an extra fee of 500 yen. This area is available from 11.00 to 16.00.
The Sports Gym
The sports gym is on the 6th floor and has a variety of running, cycling, and weight training machines. Training shoes and socks are available to rent. Use of this area is included in the general entrance fee.
Spa World has a variety of casual restaurant facilities on the 3rd floor serving sushi, yakitori chargrilled chicken, ramen noodles, okonomiyaki savory pancakes, and deep fried kushikatsu skewers of meat and vegetables.
Spa World Hotel
The hotel has range of Japanese and Western style rooms and suites. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, a TV, hair dryer, complimentary toiletries and loungewear. Guest Rooms overlook Shinsekai’s iconic Tsutenkaku Tower.
To use Spa World’s facilities you should buy a ticket from an automatic vending machine in the building’s entry and then hand it in at the gate. Spa World runs lengthy “campaigns” which offer unlimited all day access to the baths, pools, and gym for just 1,000 yen. This price is the same for both adults and children. Though officially these campaigns are for a “limited period only”, they run for months at a time and when one finishes another begins, so in reality 1,000 yen is almost certainly all you will have to pay. However, you will have to pay 1,300 yen if you wish to use Spa World’s facilities during the late night period which lasts from 24.00 to 5.00 am.
Opening Hours: 10.00 am – 8.45 am (between 8.45 and 10.00 the facilities are cleaned)
Spa World is located on the west side of Tennoji Park. It is a 12 minute walk from Tennoji Station, a 4 minute walk from Dobutsuen-mae Station, and a 5 minute walk from Shin-Imamiya Station.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.