Grand Sauna Shinsaibashi

From the High Life at the Intercontinental Osaka to a Capsule Hotel

The “bow game” wasn’t as good at the Grand Sauna Shinsaibashi as it was at the Intercontinental.  That’s probably because there was a 30x price difference per night.

Upon walking in, there’s a sign in several languages instructing you to take off your shoes and place them in a shoe locker.  I followed those instructions and then checked in.  The guy working at the front desk didn’t speak too much English but I figured it out.  He gave me most of the instructions in Japanese and I just nodded.  I’m too agreeable.

When I got to the room, it was small but functional.  It’s like being in a plastic coffin with a thin mattress pad.  I wouldn’t want to do this again if I didn’t have to.  The lockable closet was very small.  Luckily my bag is flexible so I emptied it out a little so I can place it in the locker.  On the table were two flyers for porno.  That made me question how clean this facility was considering the area.  The floor I was on had capsules for only men with only 1 person per capsule.

Feeling a little uncomfortable I went out for dinner at a ramen shop along Dotonbori and then hung out at the Starbucks for 3 hours.  It was cold and raining so it was also a good time to catch up on some blogging.

I returned to the capsule hotel at 10pm, brushed my teeth and went to sleep.  As I tried to sleep through the night, I remember TripAdvisor having a review about someone’s iPhone getting stolen as they slept.  I kept all my stuff locked up and tried to stay aware of thieves.  Through the night, I soon realized that mostly drunk businessmen that missed the train use this place.  After midnight I kept waking up hearing a drunk person stumble into their capsule.  Also, since there’s no soundproofing, when you hear someone open up the curtain to their capsule it sounds A LOT like their opening YOUR capsule’s curtain I kept waking up ready for a fight.  I didn’t sleep well.

I was wide awake at 5am because someone’s alarm was going off.  It didn’t stop.  I got out of bed at 6am and decided to start my day.  There were no showers on the floor I was staying at so I had to go to the 6th floor to take a bath.  I hopped on the elevator, pressed 6, and as soon as the doors opened…BAM! Naked Japanese guy.  I quickly tried to figure out the situation.  There were lockers for your clothes at the right.  You’d get naked right there and bring a hand towel with you into the bath.  I quickly went in, did the bath, skipped the soaking and then made my way out.  I saw an empty sauna on my way out so I hopped in.  I like saunas.  It was hot in there and they had these wooden tree blocks that looked like it had snow on top.  There’s no way it could be snow considering it was so hot.  I went to examine it and realized it was salt.  I could only assume you were supposed to rub your body in salt but I skipped it since I wasn’t sure.  I didn’t want to walk out covered in salt like some asshole who didn’t know you weren’t supposed to touch it.  I walked out of the sauna, rinsed off, toweled off, got dressed and made my way back to my capsule. I checked out at 7am and then went off to my next hotel to drop off my luggage.  After that, I took a day trip out to Kyoto.

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