These features will make you flush with excitement.
Japanese toilets are famous the world over for being some of the most high-tech gadgets you’re expected to poop in. From incredibly efficient toilet paper holders to urinals that literally sing to you like a chorus of angels, there’s pretty much nothing Japanese toilets can’t do.
And that’s why today we’re counting down the top five unique Japanese toilet functions. Not all Japanese toilets have the features we’ll be looking at, but many of them do, so you can be prepared to get the most out of your next visit to a Japanese bathroom
Honorable Mention: Heated toilet seats
As anyone who has ever gone to the bathroom in winter (meaning, most everyone reading this), there’s really nothing worse than sitting down on an ice-cold toilet seat during cold weather. Thankfully Japan has the solution with warmed toilet seats, ensuring that every time you plop your bottom down on the porcelain throne, it will be a warm, soothing experience.
The reason this is only an honorable mention is because there are toilets outside of Japan that have seat warmers, even if they are still relatively uncommon. We do have to say though, Japan is the only place we’ve seen with programmable toilet seat warmers, so that you can schedule times for your pooping to be pleasantly warm and save electricity.
Speaking of saving things…
#5. Eco-friendly functions
Japanese toilets don’t just have one but two buttons to flush. One is a large flush for, uh, large waste, and the other is a small flush for liquid waste. If you look at the picture above, the kanji on the left that looks like a person holding its arms out is the “big” one, and the one on the right that looks like a sad face is the “small” one.
Flushing using the right button helps conserve water, but that’s not the only way Japanese toilets help save on the water bill. Some toilets come equipped with a faucet above the toilet tank that is used to wash your hands afterward. That may sounds gross at first, but the water is perfectly clean, and probably a lot less than you’d use in the sink. Once you get used to it, it feels strange going back to non-automatic faucets that need to be told when to turn on. How old fashioned!
#4. Water sprays
Possibly the most infamous Japanese toilet function is the posterior wash and bidet. Both are typically done with the same water jet, with the posterior wash cleaning your bum, and the bidet coming out further to clean your front bits. The water jets usually have adjustable temperature and pressure, so you can get anything from a light wash to an all-out massage depending on your mood.
#3. Anti-embarrassment features
I don’t know about you, but for me, guests and pooping just don’t go together well. Whether someone else is doing it at your house or you’re doing it at someone else’s house, the awkward noises and smells go a long way to reminding me that we’re really just a bunch of animals wearing clothes and pretending to have civilization.
But in Japan, this is not an issue. We can enjoy humanity’s facade a little bit more thanks to automatic deodorizers and “sound princess” (otohime) noise makers. The standard otohime noise is just a flushing sound, but there are many others: water running, classical music, birds chirping, and more. It saves money compared to “courtesy flushes,”and saves you from never being invited back to friends’ houses again after stinking up the place… or maybe that’s just me.
#2. Self-cleaning bowls
Cleaning toilets is the definition of a vicious cycle. The bowl gets dirty, so no one wants to clean it, making it even dirtier, making everyone want to clean it even less, until the whole things turns into a bacteria-filled wasteland of grime, slime and deprivation.
But in Japan this isn’t as big an issue, since some toilets can clean themselves. TOTO, the biggest manufacturer of Japanese toilets, outfits their latest models with what they call ewater+ (antibacterial water that breaks down waste) and Actilight (antibacterial UV light). Together, these features, combined with other cleanliness-focused designs, make manual toilet-cleaning rare and super easy rather than a nightmare-inducing event.
And the #1 unique Japanese toilet function is…
1. The butt dryer
Imagine, if you will, the future. In the future, where humanity is in spaceships and on other planets, will we still use toilet paper to clean ourselves?
Let’s face it, toilet paper is at best a necessary evil and at worst a messy, expensive pain in the butt. Thankfully Japan is paving the way toward a brighter, cleaner future with automatic washers/dryers built into toilets. Never again will you have to experience the pain of paper-falling-apart, or clog the toilet by using too much, or have the dreaded toilet paper roll over/under argument with your significant other. Just lean back, let the toilet do all the cleaning for you, and then stand up fresh as a daisy.
Not all Japanese toilets are equipped with this feature yet, but TOTO is leading the pack in the field and hoping for even more developments in the near future. Devices that can check urine/stool samples and then automatically alert your doctor in the case of something out of the ordinary are on the hygiene horizon.
So there you have it, the top five unique Japanese toilet functions. Did we miss some of your favorite features? Let us know in the comments, so that we can all figure out what the heck all those buttons do once and for all.
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