Japanese loos: the peak of civilized behavior

IMG_2285This is our very own Toto. If you have never visited Japan, you cannot imagine the joys of Japanese loos.  Nor their complexity. But it is so worthwhile to spend a while mastering the art of using them, because this will lead to a  thoroughly wonderful experience.  You’re not in Kansas anymore.


IMG_4055These are not so much fun. Be careful not to go into the wrong stall (sign may read: Japanese style). And if you do: well done! It was worth working those quads at the gym. Just make sure you face – backwards – and hang onto your purse, above ground level.


What could be more useful if you have a child with you? A child seat! (Or, put your backpack, carrier bags, etc. in it!) These are to be seen in most public loos in parks and department stores.





Now: the instructions. These can take some time to de-cypher. (Feel free to zoom in . . . ) Here are some to work on:

The basic few instructions you need to know are these (thank you to our friend Niko, the Nihongo Shark):

I will supply a translation/explanation to this diagram upon request! This way, I will surely know who is reading our blog. And one thing I would like to know: is it Spring yet? Does this one apply still?

Winter (season)

And next  – our all time favorite has to be this. Who knew?


But seriously. There is nothing better than knowing it is a clean, dry, safe place with a warm seat. Best ever for me was on a very cold day, after a few too many Ebisu beers and green teas, and a very long walk which ended up in a vast cemetery  where I found a small, perfect retreat with every imaginable comfort including a button to play soft music which may disguise any possible embarrassing sounds.


This may be my last photo of cherry blossoms. What a perfect way to celebrate! Thank you to the Raku Museum, Kyoto, for their attention to detail.

0 thoughts on “Japanese loos: the peak of civilized behavior”

  1. All I’ve ever wanted to know about Japanese toilets! Thanks so much, Fiona and Michael. And I’m so glad you weren’t bothered by the earthquakes. I thought you were very far from them, but I wasn’t certain. Did you feel them at all?

    1. We did not feel the earthquakes. In fact, Laura and Isak, who are visiting Japan, are currently in Fukuoka, the same island and 100 km away from Kumamoto and they’re fine – no aftershocks.

  2. You’ve got to love the Japanese and their technology!
    The first time I sat on a heated toilet seat was 20+years ago at a family friend’s house in Tokyo!!!
    Love all your photos and descriptions of the different symbols and signs for the toilets! SO Japanese!

  3. That really sounds like paradise after my recent trip to Cuba. Most of the toilets there are sans toilet seats and if you find one with running water you feel like you’ve won the lottery!

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