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Japanese toilets: Why are they so weird? Your questions answered

Okay, guys, it’s time to get our $hit together (ha!). We need to get our head around those seriously odd Japanese toilets. Why are Japanese toilets so weird? How do […]

Okay, guys, it’s time to get our $hit together (ha!). We need to get our head around those seriously odd Japanese toilets.

Why are Japanese toilets so weird?

How do you use them?


Do they really talk to you?

Read on guys and you’ll have all these questions answered, and more!

Are you ready to flush your Japanese toilet misconceptions down the drain?

1. Why are Japanese toilets so complicated?


The Japanese expect a lot more from their thrones than us Aussies.

From heated seats to the ability to spray your bum in a multitude of patterns, to the ability to deodorise, toilets in Japan are an experience in themselves. And talking from personal experience, once you go to Japan, you can’t go back, man!

Source: survivingnjapan.com

Source: survivingnjapan.com

But in all seriousness, Japanese toilets are complicated because they’re packed with all these extra features. Luckily, most of the newer toilets in Japan feature some English signage to help you make sense of it all. Failing that, just decode the images – visually, they’re quite instructive – or print out the above cheat sheet and carry it around with you always.

2. Why do Japanese toilets play music?

It’s simple really. Doing your business to a soundtrack of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor or the gentle sound of a trickling waterfall is meant to mask the sound of you relieving yourself – which can be quite embarrassing, especially for Japanese women.

In fact, back in the day, Japanese women used to flush the toilet, again and again, to prevent others from hearing them pee (or worse!). As you can imagine, this used up an awful amount of water, so to stop this from happening, toilets were fitted with speakers and the rest is history.

Being concerned about making a lot of noise on the toilet can also stress some people out, and that’s why some Japanese toilets even play music that’s specifically intended to relax the bum muscles to allow you to do your thing!

3. Why do Japanese toilets talk to you?

Okay, I’ve got to be honest here: this is a joke!

In 2009, Toto, one of Japan’s major toilet manufacturers, made a series of short video ads for the Japanese market, showing Neo – the toilet’s name – chatting to a man about life – from catching the train to relationship issues!

However, for now, this is not widespread in Japan…

4. Where do you put your baby when you really need to go?


This one’s easy: you put your little bubba in a baby holder, that’s where!

Yep, that’s right. Some Japanese toilets come fitted with baby holders. All you need to do is lookout for the following sign:


5. Why do you have to remove your shoes in a Japanese toilet?


The Japanese like to separate what you do inside the four walls of a toilet from the rest of the outside world. That’s why you’ll be instructed to take off your shoes and wear slippers inside many, but not all, Japanese toilets (e.g., toilets inside ryokans, some restaurants, and all homes).

Just remember to put your shoes back on when you’re done with your business – that would be very embarrassing!