Last September I visited Japan for a holiday and had some interesting encounters with their toilets.
The Tour operator had given me very clear instructions on how to use the Eastern style toilets, which was useful and made me realise that I had previously used them incorrectly. (We wondered exactly what errors Steve had been making here…  Behaviour observation Ed). The Western style toilets in Japan are amazing! It seemed to me that they all come with extras, including hot jets to clean bottoms, hot jets for ladies and warm air.

Although the water pressure could be changed the temperature could not. I assumed it would be on a timer and just switch off, but as the water got hotter, I realised that I needed to press the STOP button. Often the toilets had sound effects, to mask any personal sounds made by the user. Sometimes as soon as any pressure was felt on the toilet seat, sounds of flushing could be heard. A travel companion told me that in some toilets the sound could be increased by the user. Often the toilet seat was warm to sit on. As it was September it was getting towards autumn although the weather was 20-25C. So much nicer that the shock of a cold seat. At a public toilet I saw signs showing how to sit on the western style toilet in 3 pictures. 1. Do not put your feel on the seat to squat. 2. Do not face the wall. 3. Back to the wall with feet on the ground. Simples! A travel companion had used an eastern style toilet and the signs showed that westerners needed to squat lower towards the ground. (Ahh, maybe that was Steve’s error…) On the Bullet train the urinals flush, as you wash your hands. (Not sure if that would work well in the UK… what do male readers think?) In a Japanese ryokan which had converted rooms to en-suite, when the toilet was flushed the tap of the small hand basin on top of the cistern came on. Bizarrely the tap could not be turned on without flushing. (That’s because the tap refills the cistern. Plumbing Ed.) As a nation the Japanese are extremely clean and hygienic. I was disappointed with the quality of the toilet paper, but perhaps that is because they clean themselves with the water jets and dry with the warm air. Taking a bath in Japan is also an experience!

Thanks Steve! We would be happy to hear from any other readers who would like to share their tales of toilets with us. And, if you want to write about the baths Steve, then please do so.

A toilet odyssey in Japan – Japan – ech2o newsletter snippet