Japan Public Bathroom – All Things You Need To Know!

When it comes to creative and odd things, Japan is simply on another level. It is truly fascinating to find out how even one of the most basic thing in the world like public restroom can be so unique and quirky here. It is no secret that modern Japan public bathroom is a perfect combination of squeaky cleanness and high technology. However, some travelers can be quite confused to use it for the first time. If you are wondering how to have a pleasant trip in this country without worrying about toilet issues, this article is for you.

Discover The Wacky Japan Public Bathroom!

1. Where And How To Find Japan Public Bathroom?

Nowadays, public toilets are available all over Japan. Normally, you can easily found them in most convenience stores or in public spaces like subway stations, parks, supermarkets …by following the sign as below:

Japan public bathroom

Toilet signs in Japan are quite similar to those in other countries

The figure of the Ladies room is usually in red and wearing a dress while that of the Men’s room is in blue. These pictograms are common, simple and quite similar to other countries. However, today, toilet signs can be extremely fun and wacky!  Many restaurants, hotels and public locations create their very own distinct and unique versions based on anime theme or traditional images.

Japan public bathroom

Unique toilet signs with figures of man and woman in traditional clothes

Good thing is that Japan public bathroom is clean and free to use. So even if you unluckily run out of money, do not panic. At least, you still can poop in peace here!

2. Types Of Toilets

In Japan, the toilet is basically categorized into 3 types: Traditional style toilet, Western-style toilet, and Multifunctional style toilet.

2.1. Japanese Traditional Style

Japan traditional toilets are squat toilets. To use this one, you must face the hemispherical hood, squatting over and place yourself close but not necessarily touch the tool. This position may be awkward and challenging for beginners. Many Western travelers try to avoid them on their trip but failed eventually. The reason is that squat toilets are still quite common in many areas, especially in temples, train stations or parks. If you never use this kind of toilet before, some practices at home probably are necessary.

Japan public bathroom

Japan traditional toilets are squat toilets

2.2. Western Style

Japan has been gradually replaced by traditional squat toilets with Western-style facilities. These ones are very convenient, simple to use and therefore have become the favorite option in most places. All you need to do is lift up the cover, sit down on the toilet bowl and enjoy your private time. Sound pretty easy right?

Japan public bathroom

The western toilets are very convenient and simple to use

2.3. Multifunctional Toilets

Last but not least, the multifunctional toilets! These ones are definitely some of the smartest toilets in the world. The famous Japanese brand – TOTO has marked their name in Guinness World Records book for producing “Washlet Zoe” – the most sophisticated toilets, with 7 functions.

Normally, toilets in Japan public bathroom offer 2 basic features which are heated seat and bidet. Bidet function allows you to wash yourself with a stream of warm water spraying from a nozzle underneath. Sometimes, 2 nozzles are available to use for different private areas. You not only feel cleaner and more comfortable but can save toilet paper as well. How cool is that!

Japan public bathroom

High-tech toilets in Japan are considered the smartest toilets in the world

Besides, there are multiple cool and surprising features for you to try out. You are afraid to make an embarrassing sound? Here comes the music system to rescue. This feature will help to cover the unpleasant sound of bodily function without flushing water excessively. Once you are done, you can choose to flush water with big or small amount of water.

Nowadays, energy-saving toilets have become more and more common, including toilets that automatically open or close the toilet cover when you enter the room and then flush after you use the toilet.

Looking at all of these efforts to save toilet paper and water, you can see how devoted Japanese people are to innovate the toilets. Who could have thought that we can still save our environment even when pooping!

The only inconvenience of multifunctional toilets is probably the text explaining the control buttons. These texts tend to be in Japanese Kanji only which makes foreigners visitor flustered to locate the correct button.

3. Japan Public Bathroom Etiquette

Japan is extremely strict in setting and following rules, especially for public areas. In fact, the long list of the dos and don’ts in Japanese public bathroom can make any traveler overwhelmed in their first trip to Japan.

First of all, few public restrooms in Japan require users to change their shoes into slippers before entering the room. This helps to maintain common hygiene by avoiding unnecessary dirty stains left on the floor. So if you see slippers line up in front of the bathroom door, do not ignore them.

Japan public bathroom

Do not forget to change into slippers if required

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Secondly, toilet paper can be flushed directly in the toilet. For other kinds of trash like tissue, tampon, gum… please put them in the trash can.

Another thing to be noted is that many public bathrooms do not have soap to wash your hands. It is also hard to find restrooms have paper towels to dry hands. Though electric hand dryers are available in some places, it still causes inconvenient feelings for people who are rushing. So if you are going out, do not forget to bring packages of tissues with you.

4. Some Quirkiest Bathrooms In Japan

Let’s have a look at some of the most unique public restrooms in Japan.

Undoubtedly, the golden toilets are at the top of the list. The Robot Restaurant located in Tokyo, Shinjuku district This restaurant is not only popular for its amusing music show but also for the fancy gold-plated toilets surrounded by psychedelic tiles from seven countries. These ones are probably the most famous public restrooms in Japan. If you can afford a lavish night in Tokyo, do not forget to check this place out!

Japan public bathroom

Undoubtedly, the golden toilets are at the top of the list.

Next is the design restrooms at Narita airport. These public bathrooms are not really weird but are highly praised for bright and convenient design. Not only have electronic warm-water bidet toilets with heated seats, but they also have flashing lights and voice guidance devices in case of emergency.

Japan public bathroom

The high standard public bathroom in Narita airport.

Next is the toilets with an ocean view in The bridge and tunnel of the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line. You can pour out all of your stress while enjoying the peaceful nature scene here.

Japan public bathroom

A unique bathroom with an ocean view in Japan

Another example of fantastic architecture of public toilets in Japan – the O.K.U shaped restrooms located in Oku station.

Japan public bathroom

The unique shape of a public restroom in OKU station

5. Bonus: Quick Glance At Japanese Bathhouse – Sento

5.1. Where to find

Sento is a type of Japanese bathhouse where customers have to pay to get into the bath. The first public bathhouse appeared in the Heian period (794–1185). Since then, it has become a long-standing culture in Japan. Developed from its original purpose for monks only, Sento has become a relaxing place for people to chat freely and share their long days with others. Therefore, it helps to relieve not only the body strains but stress also.

You can find Sento in most of the cities in Japan and it typically costs 200 to 2000 yen.  Another type of Japanese public bathhouse is Onsen. Different from Sento, Onsen uses hot water from a natural hot spring so the entrance price here is much more expensive.

Joining a bathhouse and being naked in front of strangers is definitely one of the weirdest experience you can have in Japan. Though this idea seems a little crazy at first, it actually brings out a lot of fun.

Japan public bathroom

Sento is a long-standing culture in Japan.

5.2. Public Bathhouse Etiquette

Spending your time in a public bathhouse is quite similar to going to a poor. You can bring your own personal items such as towels, shampoo or soap or buy them here for 100 – 200 yen. Public bathhouses also provide the lockers to guests to keep all personal stuff safely.

Sento is established for many people to use so there are some rules should be followed strictly if you do not want to be kicked out of the bathhouse. Just like anywhere in Japan, the most essential part here is keeping everything clean and tidy. After washing yourself with shampoo, make sure there is no any residuals left and put everything back to its original place. When you are soaking into the bath, towels must not be dipped into the water. This helps to avoid bacteria and maintain common hygiene.

Below dos and donts in the bathroom, let’s check out!


Public bathrooms and bathhouses in Japan are known for both outstanding equipment and high standard of cleanliness. All you need to do is some basic knowledge to have these experiences at best. Hopefully, the information above can help you master the skills to use these facilities properly and enjoy your pleasant trip to Japan.

2 Responses

  1. james says:

    It is the best idea to seta bathroom in the public place. Like Japan, most countries follow this rule strictly and granted a welll hygienic life.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Definitely a must-try experience in Japan!