Many people who come to Japan are surprised by the toilet situation in Japan. Why is that? The toilets in Japan are so clean that some people say they are the best in the world, and their functions are amazingly advanced! Let’s take a look at some of the things you may want to experience at least once in your life.
It was 150 years ago when the first public toilets were installed in Japan. At that time, the Meiji government of Japan was very concerned about public hygiene, so much so that it issued a “proclamation against public urination” and imposed a fine.
Nowadays, unlike in other countries, most toilets in Japan are free of charge, especially in stations, commercial facilities, parks, etc. If you have a problem in the city center, you can easily find a toilet within a short walk! Now, let’s take a look at some of the amazing features of Japanese toilets.
Most Japanese people use toilet paper after relieving themselves, but hot-water washlets are becoming more and more common in homes and public restrooms.
Since it is more hygienic than simply wiping with paper, it is gaining more and more fans not only in Japan but also overseas. What’s more, the strength and temperature of the water can be adjusted, and there is even a function that produces warm air for drying.
You may be worried that you will have to share with others, but most washlets these days automatically clean the nozzle each time.
The button for the bidet function. The water flow can also be adjusted.
Sitting on a chilly toilet seat on a cold day is now torture. These days, toilet seats are equipped with seat heaters, so you can spend your toilet seat time comfortably with a gentle feeling of relief and warmth wrapped around you.
This is an excellent function that automatically activates the deodorizer after you have done your business, allowing the next user to enter comfortably.
By flushing with soapy water instead of just water, the toilet bowl is cleaned every time, making it more hygienic and safe to use. It also reduces the burden on the cleaning staff to clean it.
The lever type is divided into “large (大)” and “small (小)” by tipping the lever back and forth. Incidentally, “large” is for number 2 and “small” is for number 1. Even when you use a button to flush, it is often separated into a “large” and “small” button.
The urinal area in Japan is sometimes partitioned off so that it cannot be seen from the side. After all, Japanese people tend to prefer this kind of individual space.
In many women’s areas, there is a device called “Otohime” that uses a sensor to play the sound of running water so that the sound of you doing your business does not make others uncomfortable. This is another feature of Japan’s respect for etiquette. When you hold your hand over the device, it makes a sound, and when you press a button, the sound stops.
When using a public restroom that is used by a large number of people, you want to be able to use it without touching it. Recently, there are more and more toilets that fulfill this wish. A function that automatically activates a sensor when you enter a toilet cubicle, opens the toilet seat lid, automatically flushes water when you do your business and stand up, and finally closes the lid automatically. This allows for maximum hands-free use.
Many of the main toilet cubicles are equipped with alcohol solutions, which can be sprayed on toilet paper and quickly cleaned before and after use. Also, where paper toilet seat covers are available, install them as shown in the image below. It is made of a material that dissolves easily in water, so you can just flush it away.
Many public restrooms in shopping malls and train stations are equipped with chairs for babies to sit on and a place to put their belongings. This will keep not only you, but also your baby and shopping bags properly sanitized. Most of them have a weight limit, so don’t make the mistake of leaning or sitting on them.
In busy places where many people use the restroom, you can see from a monitor at a glance what stalls are available. This will reduce the waiting time and make it more comfortable to use.
Some private toilet rooms are equipped with an emergency button to use if you suddenly collapse in the toilet or need someone to help you in an emergency. Some have a button and some have a string to pull.
Some toilets are set up for people with physical disabilities or those who need handrails. If you can use a regular toilet, try to give the multi-purpose toilet to someone who really needs it.
Women especially want to get ready and fix their makeup before a meeting or party. There are more and more restrooms that have a separate changing area and makeup area.
The number of aging toilets in parks and on the streets is becoming more and more conspicuous, leading to a decrease in the number of users and affecting the landscape of the city. The efforts of local governments and organizations are contributing to the creation of a livable city by increasing the number of public toilets that people want to use.
-No smoking (maybe even e-cigarettes)
-Don’t forget to flush.
-Use only the toilet paper provided and do not take it home.
-It is not the place to make a mess, so be considerate of the next person and try to keep it clean.
-Sit on the toilet seat to use the Western-style toilet
-Be careful about how to use the Japanese-style toilet.
Although the number of public toilets has been decreasing recently, almost all stations are equipped with toilets, so if you are in trouble, it is a good idea to use one at a station. You can also use a toilet at a shopping mall or convenience store while shopping, but be careful, especially at convenience stores in the downtown area, because some stores do not allow you to use them or limit the time you can use them to prevent drunkenness or mischief. In addition, some public toilets have recently been opened with a fee. (ex. 100 yen per use)
What did you think? I think you can see that the ever-evolving Japanese toilet is no longer just a place to do your business, but has become a very important “space”. It is important to observe good manners and etiquette, but if you’re coming to Japan, try to use the various toilets as one interesting cultural experience!