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Exploring Bath Culture: A One-of-a-Kind Experience at Osaka's SpaWorld Hotel and Resort

At SpaWorld Hotel and Resort in a historical South Osaka neighborhood, you can experience bath culture from around the world, and so much more.



Visitors can enjoy the city lights of South Osaka's iconic Shinseikai district from the rooftop sauna and pool area at SpaWorld Hotel and Resort. (©JAPAN Forward by Mika Sugiura)

Read the full story on Japan 2 Earth - Exploring Bath Culture: A One-of-a-Kind Experience at Osaka's SpaWorld Hotel and Resort

As an American expatriate who has called Japan home for over two decades, I have a special affinity for the country's hot springs and traditional sento (public baths). Yet, despite my knowledge and experience of Japan's bath culture, none of my previous experiences quite compare to my visit to SpaWorld. 

I invite you to join me on a chronicle of my recent visit to SpaWorld Resort and Hotel. SpaWorld turned out to be far more than the hot springs resort I had expected. Its roots in the history of a South Osaka neighborhood and ongoing efforts to improve the local economy make it more than a tourist attraction. It is an integral part of its surrounding community. 

A South Osaka Landmark

Nestled in the vibrant heart of South Osaka, SpaWorld Hotel and Resort is a testament to the rejuvenation of a once-troubled neighborhood. In the not-so-distant past, the area had a reputation for being a rough neighborhood in dire financial straits, with many residents even homeless. 

Varied views of Tsutenkaku Tower from SpaWorld's rooftop heated infinity pool. (©JAPAN Forward by Mika Sugiura)

With the opening of Universal Studios Japan (USJ) in 2001, things began to change. USJ drew in new tourists who stayed a few days and were eager to explore other parts of the city too. SpaWorld played no small part in this transformation and has become an attraction in itself.

Even at midday during the week, a carnival atmosphere pervades in the nearby amusement arcades. (©JAPAN Forward by Mika Sugiura)

The neighborhood around SpaWorld is called Shinseikai, or 'New World'. It boasts lively bars, restaurants (with the famous kushi-katsu being a standout), and iconic landmarks like the Tsutenkaku Tower. Stepping into its streets feels like a journey back in time to the Showa Era, complete with nostalgic shateki (shooting game) carnival-like activities in a covered mall arcade.

Visitors from Near and Afar

With approximately one million visitors annually, SpaWorld has become a magnet for people seeking to experience Japanese bath and relaxation culture. Notably, about 20% of visitors are non-Japanese, with Europeans and Koreans comprising a significant portion. 

SpaWorld CEO Keisuke Iwasaki in front of SpaWorld's big sign. (©JAPAN Forward by Mika Sugiura)

According to Spaworld's CEO Keisuke Iwasaki, these cultures have their own bath culture, which makes them more likely to visit SpaWorld on their journeys to Japan.

Continue reading the full story on Japan 2 Earth to hear more about the one-of-a-kind bath experience at SpaWorld.

And find more great articles on the environment and the challenges of achieving the SDGs on our affiliated website Japan 2 Earth (J2E), sparking a transition to a sustainable future.



(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Susan Yoshimura

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