8 Reasons that Japanese Reststop Bathrooms are Surprisingly Practical

A while ago, I wrote this post talking about how wonderful Taiwanese toilets are (I spent Christmas in Taiwan with my fiance). Since then, a lot of people have asked for a similar post about how wonderful Japanese toilets are.

Well, this isn’t it.

But it’s close. Sort of. I have far too much to say about Japanese toilets. So we’re just going to stick with Japanese rest-stop bathrooms. Gradually I will work myself up to the grand finale of Japanese toilets.

Don’t judge me.

8 Reasons that Japanese rest-stop bathrooms are wonderful:

1. They were built to hold massive amounts of people at one time. Japanese rest stops understand that when a bus stops, there could be up to a hundred women who need to use the bathroom.

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Most bathrooms have several columns of toilets in a row, specifically designed so that people can tell which ones are still un-occupied.

2. They understand that women need mirrors. Some rest-stop bathrooms even have a special room where you can fix your make-up (without a pesky sink in the way).

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Sometimes the combine the two and compensate by making a ridiculous amount of sinks with mirrors. Then, underneath the mirrors, they have a shelf you can put your purse (so it won’t get wet) or make-up (so you can reach it easier).

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3. They have silly signs telling you how to use the toilet correctly.

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4. They occasionally have a sign that tells you what kind of toilets they have, whether they are occupied or not, and what kind of facilities it has. Right away, you know what kind of toilet it is, how big it is, if there are any baby chairs, and whether it is occupied.

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The first time I had seen a sign like this was actually in the Taipei metro system. I wrote about it here.

Sometimes the sign isn’t electronic. I still find that helpful, since I’m not such a fan of the Japanese-style squat toilets.

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I don’t have leg muscles. Squatting for extended periods of time doesn’t work.

5. They’re clean and don’t have that horrible day-old urine smell common in most (but not all) American rest-stop bathrooms. I hate that dirty smell of old urine. Thankfully, I don’t smell much of that in Japan (unless it’s a public toilet).

Japanese rest-stops are ridiculously clean. I love it.

6. They are convenient and spacious.

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7. They have a bidet that washes (and dries) your butt for you (as well as plays music/other sounds while you’re on the toilet, in case your toilet “noises” embarrass you).

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There are typically two types of bidets: attached to the toilet or the wall. Both work about the same. If you’re a girl, though, be careful about the pressure. Anything above the “three” water pressure setting hurts.

Oh, also, the signs are also in braille. As I wrote about in my post about blind people in Japan, people who are sight impaired can still enjoy the relaxing feeling of a machine washing their butt for them.

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In fact, bidets were first invented by an American toilet company that was trying to make a toilet for people who were handicapped or otherwise were not able to clean themselves properly. The Japanese toilet company, TOTO, thought that was a wonderful idea and ended up implementing the bidet into their high-quality toilets.

8. They occasionally have signs I’m not sure I understand. But the general gist is the fact that Japanese toilets are easy to use, clean, safe, and somewhat fun.

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Unless it’s a Japanese-style squat toilet. Then, I’m not such a fan… and take back everything nice I’ve ever said about toilets (included, but not limited to cleanliness and the absence of urine smell)

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About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

2 Comments on 8 Reasons that Japanese Reststop Bathrooms are Surprisingly Practical

  1. I LOVED the bathrooms in Japan, when I visited my boyfriend in Japan this past Winter break we took a trip around Tokyo and then to Hiroshima, and not once did I see a dirty restroom, maybe I was just lucky but I was blown away by the cleanliness! When I came back to the states I was immediately put off by how much more disgustings the bathrooms were here :( I miss Japan and their fabulous toilets lol

    • I don’t think I realized how dirty American toilets were until I went to Japan. It’s just… sad.
      And my husband wrote his graduation thesis about the differences between Japanese toilets and US/European/3rd world country toilets – so everywhere we travel to, he HAS to examine the toilets.

      Which, of course, just makes us miss Japan beause Japanese toilets are FABULOUS

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