Like the aroma of fresh-baked bread or the sweet fragrance of a flower shop, the stench of a toilet can be just as memorable, albeit not in as nice a way.
Despite Japan’s reputation for high-tech toilets and Washlets that do everything except brush your teeth (thank God), a surprising number of households in Japan still have the old-style “pit toilets.” These toilets have a porcelain bowl, but no running water to flush in or out. You just squat over the hole and drop your goods into a cement pit waiting at the bottom. It’s basically an in-house outhouse.
Almost all the houses are this style on the islands in the Seto Inland Sea as well as many dwellings in Japan’s countryside. Our toilet reporter takes an in-depth look at how these pit toilet systems work. We bet you’re just dying to know!