Unless you’ve been to a country where public baths are part of everyday life, you can only imagine how lovely it is to scrub and scrub all the dirt and probably one layer of skin off and then to soak in a big hot bath with a bunch of strangers. It’s an amazingly restorative practice and lots of fun. Afterwards you feel like you’ve washed away the problems of the world.
If you’re ever in Osaka, I highly recommend you visit Spa World, an indoors hot bath entertainment center. It isn’t an onsen, which is a hot spring and has a more natural setting, such as nearby mountains or a forest, but is indoors often in urban areas. Not only do Spa World’s baths have various international themes, like France, Spain, China, India or Iran, but there are restaurants, a big room full of reclining chairs and a movie screen showing Japanese TV, and an arcade.
Note: You’re only naked in the gender segregated baths. In the entertainment center, you wear the cabana outfit they provide, i.e. matching blue shorts and a top for men and pink for women. There isn’t a more Japanese activity to be had.