By Tad Ichimiya
“You are addicted!”… “I think I am getting addicted!” We texted to each other the similar message simultaneously. My friend and I were talking about my recent experience at Nobeha no Yu, an onsen (hot spring bathing facility) located in suburban Tsuruhashi.
Located within walking distance from Tsuruhashi Station that is less than 20 minutes away from the city center, this onsen place has been gaining popularity and recommended as an alternative over Spa World. After a long day of trekking in Minoh Park, a soak at the onsen was the only motivation for my feet to move on.
Prior to reaching Nobeha no Yu, one will pass by the ‘Little Korea’ of Osaka. Before you knew it, you may get distracted by the delicious aroma of Korean cuisine amidst a vibrant shopping scene. Nonetheless, I strode on purposefully towards my intended destination under the relentless rain.
With a quaint Japanese sliding door, the entrance of Nobeha no Yu is illuminated with a welcoming orange glow. Outside, the umbrella stands seem to be enjoying a full house on the wet day. Within, business was bustling yet things looked to be very organised with several attentive service staff on standby.
As compared to Spa World, Nobeha no Yu is smaller and has a more casual atmosphere. Instead of paying beforehand, you exchange your footwear locker key for a designated personal belongings’ locker key. Payment will be due only prior to leaving the facilities.
Although most information is in Japanese, one can get around pretty easily within this cosy area. The female bathing facilities is on the second storey and there were vending machines selling drinks, facial masks and other beauty products.
It could be my imagination but the towel seems to be smaller than ever! Amenities are not as extensive as Spa World, but the environment and the relatively lower costs more than make up for it.
Imagine relaxing in an outdoor hot tub while gentle rain falls gently upon you… Around me, ladies lounged casually in the hot pools, chatting away with one another. Pools of varying temperatures cater to different preferences in an authentic Japanese setting. Although we are confined in a small space, there seems to be an invisible veil of privacy, as we relax in our own world.
To my delight, there are three different types of saunas that include the salt sauna! Despite my obsession with getting rid of dead skin, my favourite sauna at Nobeha no Yu is the steam sauna where every inch of the spacious room was covered with orange towels!
With a huge flat screen television displayed at the front, one can enjoy watching television while working (or rather sitting) towards better blood circulation and rejuvenated skin.
The simple relaxation room with tatami flooring and stone pillows also enacts a comfortable environment. I almost fell asleep and briefly entertained the thought of spending the night here.
Soon, it was time to leave. Bathing facilities and the ‘makeup’ room were relatively smaller than Spa World and one may have to wait during crowded hour. Nonetheless, I was happy to wait since I felt revitalised after the relaxing and therapeutic session.
If you are looking for a relaxing onsen experience in Osaka, take a dip at Nobeha no Yu.
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