Katie and I took a bus/train from Hagi - sneakily rode the Nozomi caerd despite the fact that Katie, with her JHR pass, wis not supposed to ride those super fast trains for free - the JR pass can only use the slow and medium speed bullet trains - not that they are very slow! We ended up at the hostel shortly after 4pm and met Erin and Ange who had arrived much earlier!
We decided to head off to Spa World. It is an 8 floor building at the top of which there is a 'family' swimming area - meaning that swimsuits are required! There are a couple of waterslides, a couple of rooftop spas and a big swimming pool - actually it's more like a ring of a pool - there are all kinds of toys/equipment to play with in the middle. It was really nice being outside in the rooftop spa whilst day turned to night. After we got out of the pool we weren't allowed to go into the locker room wet - they expected everyone to strip off in the elevator lobby (women on the 4th floor, men on the 6th) and then walk over to the lockers. Even the Japanese girls who got told to do it at the same time as us looked a little surprised! Katie, Ange and I got dressed there, but Erin was a hussy and walked through the locker room half naked!
Whilst in Osaka we also went to the castle, which has been immaculately restored on the outside, and then inside it is all airconditioned, and the exhibits are museum quality! Outside of the castle, so people could cool down, you could sit under a small marquee and have mist spray on you - so nice in the 35 degree weather! We also went up to the top of the Umeda Sky Building, which has an amazing view of Osaka/Kobe - no idea where one city ends and the next begins! The building has got such reflective glass windows that if you stand in the right place it looks as though there are 3 floating observatory decks! Getting up to the deck is pretty fun - there is a glass lift most of the way, and then the final 5 floors are ascended via a glass escalator that goes diagonally up between the 2 towers!
We also went to Amerika-mura - or as Katie likes to call it 'America World'. It's basically a Japanese interpretation of teen America, filled with crazy Japanese fashion! Out there was also the Rock n Roll museum - a shop with some pretty amazing rock memorabilia.
We managed to try some osaka style okonomiyaki, and we will have the hiroshima style once we are in Hiroshima.
The Osaka heat/humidity was a bit of a shock to Ange and Erin - Katie had already spent 3 days in Hagi by this stage so was vaguely acclimatised. But I think that they are dealing with it quite well! Of course, I told them how hot it would be, and how humid, but I guess they thought I was exaggerating! Although, I don't think you can truly understand a Japanese summer until you have lived through it, and as this is my 2nd I am dealing with it quite well!