I went to Spa World yesterday, But rather than write a long explanation of my own, this guy's will do just fine...

Anyway I head back to Spa World. One of the cultural experiences of being in Japan is going to a Japanese bath. Japanese love a good bath however it is not the same as an American idea of a bath. A Japanese bath is a communial bath with the sexes seperated. Also you are supposed to be sure to clean yourself before entering the bath. The actual bath is for soaking, not cleaning. Anway I wanted to try a Japanese bath before leaving Japan.

Spa World is a modern, updated Japanese bath, the veritable Disneyland of Japanese baths and is quite famous. This huge facility can accomodate up to 5,000 bathers at a time and in addition to baths features several pools, a lazy river a waterslide, massage, sauna, resting rooms and even a video arcade. Ok so it is nothing like a traditional Japanese bath but it sounded a lot more fun.

Entering Spa World is like entering a fancy hotel with a registration desk and everything. The admission for three hours was a hefty Y2,700. This gave me a pause as I had one Y10,000 bill and some small change left in Japanese money. I figured I might need up to Y3,000 for a room that night, another Y400 to get to the room, Y880 to get the airport, Y2,500 for the airport departure tax plus some cash for dinner. If I paid for Spa World I would have about Y600 for dinner and no Japanese money left at all. This would be cutting it very close.

In the end I figured what the hell, I wasn't going to let what amounted to maybe $5 stop me from enjoying Japan and anyways after two weeks of steady sightseeing and relentless wolking I really needed a bath and some pampering. So after paying my money and getting a numbered wristband I took off my shoes before heading to lockers. Unfortunately they ddn't have locker big enough for my big bag but they were able to hold it for me at the registration desk.

Back at the lockers I find that these lockers were just for shoes. OK, so I stash my shoes and daypack in the locker and head off carrying my swim shorts. I see that the pool is on the 8th floor but when I get to the elevator I find out that it only goes to the third, fourth and fifth floor. I get off on the third floor only to find a sign indicating that it was the Asian baths and that it was women only. Back on the elevator and up to the fourth floor where I find that this is the European baths and men only. Now we are making progress.

Through the doors and I find myself in a nice locker room. Well I change into my swim trunks and follow a few more signs before finding another elevator which this time allows me to go up the eighth floor. There I find a small waterpark about half the size of a football field. Not quite as grand as Raging Rapids but a nice little place none the less. There are a large number of families there but is not crowded. I spend some time there enjoying the lazy river and the waterslide. It is very nice to be able to swim a little and the water is like warm bathwater..

In an adjacent room there is a series of pools and huge jacuzzies. One thing I really enjoyed is the special jacuzzi with a row of individual seating areas. Seven streams of hot water and bubbles massage your feet and back. Very relaxing.

After that I went back down to the fourth floor where the men's bath was. Japanese communial baths are taken nude so with some trepidation I stripped down and headed for the showers

After a thorough shower I entered the actual bath area and it was gorgeous. It looked like I had entered Ceasars palace in Las Vegas. There were a number of different rooms with different themes but most were based upon the Roman theme. The first room had a hot pool that looked like it could have been a Roman fountain. An outdoor hot pool looked like a Roman courtyard and the cold pool was designed to look like a cave grotto.

With all the naked men walking around I had the thought that this place would be a gay San Francisco bathhouse patron's dream. Of course being a Japanese bath house there was nothing but bathing and soaking going on. After wandering around for a while enjoying the splendors of the baths I was getting very wrinkley and proceeded to the relaxation room.

This is a huge room full of recliner sofas and a bank of TV's. Each recliner comes with a blanket and individual speakers built into the headrests. There must have been over 100 recliners in that room, most of them occupied by sleeping men. Well I took the opportunity to take a little nap until my three hours were up.