Solaniwa Onsen: A hot spring theme park of a bygone era
Connected by a direct walkway from the Osaka Metro Bentencho Station (JR Osaka Loop Line) is “Solaniwa Onsen,” a hot spring theme park that opened in 2019 in hopes of revitalizing the Osaka bay area. Its concept is the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600), more specifically the 16th century when samurai Toyotomi Hideyoshi succeeded in the unification of Japan from his base at Osaka Castle. Here, you can relax in onsen and stone saunas while relishing the atmosphere of a bygone era.
Once you’ve checked in at the reception, you will start off by selecting a yukata (traditional soft cotton robe) to wear inside the facility. Women have the option of seven types of yukata and nine different obi (sash belt) while men have four. Women can also choose to wear a two-piece sundress. It’s a tough pick with so many gorgeous designs!
After changing into a yukata, you can roam about the facility to your heart’s content. On the rooftop is an expansive Japanese garden and footbath where you can revel in the traditional atmosphere. You’ll also find seasonal trees and flowers growing alongside the Thousand Torii Arches, a popular photo spot of a pathway of torii shrine gates.
Japanese garden and footbath
the Thousand Torii Arches
Pass through Hoi An Street with its colorful lanterns and you will find Kuidaore Yokocho (“Glutton’s Alley”), an area with an array of food vendors and game booths.
The food court offers seasonal menus as well as dishes modeled after those of a popular dining hall that was used to feed the builders of the Osaka Castle.
At the game booths, you can play nostalgic games like target-shooting and ring-throwing. Wearing your yukata, you’ll feel like you’re at a traditional festival!
If you head to the stone sauna reception (additional fee applies), you will find seven different stone sauna rooms. But first you will need to change into the special outfit provided. After going up a long pathway, you will find the sauna bath “Jingu-Bo.” This sauna was designed after the Kyoto shrines that marked the end of the road leading from Osaka. The shrine-like interior is a must-see!
Another sauna you shouldn’t miss is “Nanban-Bo.” With a Western design, this sauna is said to have an alternate theme of “Secret Christians” (from the Edo period). The mist sauna will warm your body from the core without the hard-to-breathe quality of typical saunas.
Once you’ve released the toxins from your body, you’re ready for the onsen. Solaniwa Onsen is a natural hot spring pumped up from 1,000 meters underground. There are a total of nine baths including the “Garden-viewing bath” that overlooks a Japanese garden and a hot spring with water taken straight from the source. It will be so relaxing, so you’ll need to take care not to spend too much time in the onsen.
There are many other ways to entertain yourself at Solaniwa Onsen, such as at the reading area with approximately 15,000 manga, magazines, and picture books, or the relaxation area where you can treat yourself to a massage. Spend a relaxing day at Solania Onsen, although one day surely won’t be enough!
Solaniwa Onsen website: https://solaniwa.com/en-us/
Access: Direct walkway from Bentencho Station (JR, Metro)
*The information herein is as of April 2021.
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