In most parts of the world, using a toilet is a straightforward process. You're likely accustomed to toilets with a simple design, featuring just one or two buttons for flushing.
However, in Japan, the experience can be quite different. The toilet seats are more advanced and come with multiple buttons that might look unfamiliar to first-time users.
This article aims to guide you through using a toilet seat in Japan, detailing the various buttons and their functions. If you're unfamiliar with the basics of using a toilet seat, you may want to read an introductory guide first.
When you approach a toilet in Japan, the first thing to do is open the toilet cover, assuming there is one. While most toilets around the world come with lids, some in Japan might not.
In some high-tech toilets, the lid will automatically open as you approach it. However, such automatic features are relatively uncommon.
Something to note: many sitting toilets have an extra layer called the toilet seat. If you find the seat too small for comfort, you might be tempted to lift this layer.
But be cautious—lifting the seat in Japan deactivates features like flushing and drying on the control panel.
Once the toilet cover is open or if there's no cover at all, you can sit down and use the toilet as usual. Keep in mind that these are sitting toilets, so avoid standing, squatting, or engaging in any activity that might put you at risk.
If the seat appears dirty, feel free to use toilet tissue and sanitizer to clean it. Sanitizing wipes or sprays are commonly found in restrooms worldwide, not just in Japan. Just be mindful not to overuse these amenities.
After you've done your business, it's time to flush and clean up. Look for the control panel usually attached to the wall near the toilet. This panel is often rectangular and located to the right of the seat. Each button on it is accompanied by an icon to explain its function. Here's a breakdown:
Like toilets anywhere, there's a button for flushing. Some toilets offer options for a "large" flush for solid waste and a "small" flush for liquid waste to conserve water.
In many Japanese toilets, the flush button is separate from the main control panel. Sometimes you don't even need to press it—just waving your hand in front of a sensor will trigger the flush.
Don't worry about language barriers; these buttons often include English translations and universally understandable symbols.
This button activates a water spray aimed at the user's rear area for cleaning. It's a standard feature in Japanese toilets and is essential for thorough cleaning.
This button is primarily designed for women, spraying water to the front to clean the feminine area.
The control panel usually includes a button to adjust the water spray pressure. If you find the spray too strong or too weak, look for buttons marked with a (-) or (+) symbol to decrease or increase the pressure, respectively.
This feature acts as a dryer. After using the water spray, you can hit the "Dry" button to release warm air and dry the wet areas. The time it takes and the noise level may vary depending on the model of the toilet.
This unique and popular feature (my personal favourite feature lol) plays sounds like music or running water to mask any noise you might make while using the toilet, offering you added privacy.
The next button to know about is the volume control, which specifically adjusts the volume of the privacy music or sound.
If you've used the privacy feature but find the volume too soft or too loud, you can adjust it. Simply press the button marked with a (+) symbol to increase the volume or the one with a (-) symbol to lower it.
The "Stop" button is designed to immediately halt any function currently in operation. This could be the water spray for cleaning or even the privacy sound.
It's particularly useful if you find the water pressure too strong and want to stop it right away. The stop button serves as an "all-stop" control for your convenience.
Another important button to know about is the Emergency Button. This button is usually red or marked with a distinctive symbol.
The main purpose of this button is to call for immediate help, like if someone has fallen or experiences a problem while using the toilet.
When you press it, an alarm or notification will be sent to the staff or security personnel, prompting them to come to your aid.
Now that you're equipped with these additional buttons, it's time to talk about cleaning up after you've used the toilet. You'll likely need to use various functions to clean different areas of your body.
For women, you can press the "Front" button to clean the feminine area. After that, you can use the "Dry" button to help dry off.
If you're conscious about the sounds you're making in the toilet, don't hesitate to use the "Privacy" button to play some background music or sound.
Once you're done and feeling refreshed, don't forget to close the toilet lid, assuming there is one. If the toilet doesn't have a lid, there's no need to worry—simply close the door as you leave. I hope this guide proves helpful for you. Until next time, happy travels!