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Get Prepared For Your First Encounter With A Modern Japanese Toilet

A lot of people who have been to Japan rave about its beautiful natural scenery, amazing ancient castles, temples, and shrines, great tasting food, and rich and fascinating culture. There are also some that have fallen in love with the very unique Japanese toilets that have taken the entire bathroom experience to a whole new level.

If you are planning to visit Japan in the future, you will not have a hard time finding these interesting inventions, as they are very widely used across the country, especially at tourist-accessible places, like hotels, hostels, train stations, department stores, museums, theme parks, restaurants, and other business establishments.

Read on to learn some important information to help you prepare for your first encounter with a modern Japanese toilet.

The different Japanese toilet buttons

Japanese toilets have buttons that you can push to activate different functions. Some brands have the controls on a panel on the side of the toilet bowl, while others have them attached on the wall. Each button is labeled in Japanese, and has a small symbol, illustration, or drawing of what it does. Sometimes, there is also an English translation available.

If you cannot read kanji, hiragana, and katakana, it is best that you get familiar with the basics. Below are the common buttons found in Japanese toilets:

To flush – 流す

(read as “nagasu”)

To activate the water jet – おしり

(read as “oshiri”)

To stop the water jet – 止

(read as “to[maru]”)

For the bidet function – ビデ

(read as “bide”)

For water pressure – 水勢

(read as “suisei”)

To increase water pressure – 

(read as “tsuyo[i]”)

To decrease water pressure – 

(read as “yowa[i]”)

Some Japanese toilets offer extra buttons that activate special functions. Probably two of the most interesting of them all is the “flushing sound” button or the “water sounds” button, which plays loud, fake flushing or water sounds to drown out whatever noise you are too embarrassed to let others hear; and the “deodorization” button, which releases a nice fragrance to get rid of the bad odor.

Japanese toilet etiquette

When you see a Japanese toilet for the first time, do not get confused or terrified. It will not hurt or harm you. It is just like any other toilet in your home country, something that is there to help you deal with your business, just with a little bit more comforts to offer.

Wipe the toilet seat using the provided toilet seat cleaner.

Public restrooms see people come and go throughout the day, so do not expect all toilets to be completely clean round the clock. Every time you use the toilet, do not forget to make good use of the toilet seat cleaner that is placed right next to the toilet bowl to get rid of germs, dirt, and other harmful microbes.

Play fake flushing and water noises to cover up the sounds you are making while doing your thing.

If you had bad food, and your stomach would not stop rumbling, you have to just let it all out. Oftentimes, while waiting for everything to get out of your systems, you can’t control the noises that your body produces. This can be very embarrassing and awkward once you step out of your cubicle, and see that everyone’s eyes are on you. So, to not find yourself in that situation, look for the “flushing sound” button, and take advantage of it. With it, you can mask your whimpers and groans with the fake and loud water noises, and get out of there without feeling too self-conscious.

Use the water spray functions appropriately.

Japanese toilets have two nozzles that can help clean your private parts. If you are woman, you can push the “bidet” button to activate the waterjet that can wash and rinse your front. If you pooped, you can push the “oshiri” button to cleanse your bum. You can increase or reduce the water pressure according to your preference by pressing the + or – buttons. Once you are done, push the stop button.

Dry yourself.

Do not just pull up your pants right after washing yourself. That will put you at risk of yeast infections, urinary tract infection, E. coli, and other health problems. You have to dry yourself first.

Unfortunately, not all Japanese toilets have a “dry” button. If your toilet has it, you are lucky, as you simply need to push the “dry” button to let out air to dry yourself after a water spray. If you are end up with one that does not have this awesome feature, just grab a wad of tissue paper and pat until all moisture in the area is absorbed.

Do not forget to flush.

There really are people in the world who do not flush after using the toilet. Whether it was deliberate or just forgetfulness, it is never fun to go inside a restroom that has an unwanted surprise waiting for you. Even though it only takes a few seconds to get rid of, it still is not something that you would want to happen to you again. So, to spare others of this unpleasantness, remember to flush after using the toilet, before you open that cubicle door.

In Japan, toilet flushes come in different types. There are ones that are activated by placing your hand in front of a sensor on the wall or just by standing up. There are also ones with the good, old lever on the side of the water tank.

Wash your hands after using the toilet.

Many diseases, infections, and illnesses are spread by germs that you can pick up from restrooms. The door knobs, the flush levers, the faucets, and even the hand dryers are breeding grounds for microorganisms that can cause serious harm and damage to your health. Therefore, you have to wash your hands properly every time you take a trip to the bathroom. After wetting your hands, apply soap, and create a thick lather. Scrub your hands together for about 20 to 30 seconds, and then rinse well.

Author: Emma

Emma is a Online Marketing Specialist at Mobal. She is responsible for our outbound marketing efforts including planning and executing email campaigns, social media and blog posts. She also works with the Web Designers at Mobal to update the website and to help to create a better experience for the user.

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