A Travellerspoint blog

The Dirt on Japanese Bathrooms

overcast 24 °C

The Japanese are obsessively clean and it is rare to find a scrap of litter or speck of dirt - we even saw one woman carefully dusting the cobwebs off her garden flowers. Whenever we have a few spare moments at home we might check emails or pick up a book, whereas the average Japanese will check the floor and pick up a brush. The same is true of personal hygiene. The Japanese love their baths but, unlike ours, their tubs are not for washing: they are just for relaxing after taking a shower. Everyone uses the same bath water – though thankfully not all at the same time – and it is constantly reheated. This is a typical wooden tub...
As we travel the world we frequently decry the ways in which North America is slipping behind technologically and Japanese toilets are both a cause for amazement and amusement to us Neanderthals. For instance, the toilet in our ryokan (traditional lodging house) in Kiso-Fukushima had a WiFi enabled digital control console...
The built-in digital clock is important if you have a rickshaw waiting on a meter, but the alarm function would seem to be a little anal, except for habitual toilet nappers or readers of engrossing mystery novels, (without naming names or gratuitously advertising).
The digital thermometer is important because it alerts the toilet seat to the ambient temperature. The seat is then heated to the desired comfort level which can be preset by frequent users. The seat temperature can also be controlled by the alarm function ensuring that early risers don’t get a cool reception at 4am.
With the addition of an anemometer to measure wind blasts, every Japanese toilet could become its own weather station.
Some Japanese toilet seats are equipped with canned music or sound effects to mask unfortunate noises. One, presumably devised for the environmentally conscious, loudly plays the sound of a fully flushed toilet while actually using only a little water. And, as you might expect, these toilets have electronically controlled hydraulic seats and lids which smoothly and silently close automatically after use. Also, each console controls the exact amount of flushing water needed to complete the particular transaction. Perhaps the most advanced features are the various bidet modes with a number of settings offering different angles and force of washes for men and women…
Toilet paper may seem obsolete when the bidet system is in operation, but it is provided in Japan for an entirely different purpose than at home. While some Japanese toilet seats are self cleaning after each use, those without this function are provided with toilet rolls and electronically controlled sanitizer dispenser units like this…
This is the only time that any form of manual labour is required when using a Japanese toilet.
Now, dear sceptical blog reader, if you think any of this is a fabrication – think again - we have seen it all, and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if the next toilet we come across serves coffee or green tea while we sit and wait. In the meantime we have dinner in our yukatas after a twenty kilometer hike along the Nakesendo Way and replenish ourselves in preparation for our next visit to the toilet – "Kampai" ("Bottoms- up" in Japanese)..

Posted by Hawkson 04:10 Archived in Japan

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


More beer, Trudy? You've really gone native.
Fascinating toilet images. Missed that in some of the other Bliss journeys.

by R and B

Please bring one of these toilets home for Rowan, he will update it further by installing fans into them...just in case it's needed..
Fascinating, funny, too :-)

by gottfried

You certainly gave me my laugh for the day with the toilet story. ps we got the rain we need yesterday and it will continue all week. I love to hear about places I will probably never go to..thanks again

by Jean McLaren

Think you know my similar Japanese toilet story in the ryokan with computerized hot and cold showers attacking Lucy and me .They are quite something aren't they?

by liz

Who else would give us a toilet tour! Love the pic of the two of you indulging...

by Sharron

This was a very edifying post. An important consideration that is rarely mentioned. Bravo!

by The Vickerage

Toilet bliss. We all need the shower/bath system. I especially love the self cleaning element. What is missing is the sound of clapping when one has been successful on the toilet.

by Sue Fitzwilson

HI there, Joycie sent me your blog. Happy to follow! Years ago in Tokyo a gaggle of us foreign women went to a movie together and when we were in the washroom one of us got too curious about the buzzer next to the toilet. We were all a little embarrassed when a male medically attired attendant came to her 'aide'

by Siki

Great to see you two looking so relaxed. Congratulation on the 20K walk. Quite a distance. These toilets a far cry from the mostly squat toilets I recall from early days in Japan - we foreigners used to plot where the western style toilets were in our daily travels. They modernize in no half measures in Japan.

by Tom

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.