Toilets as a part of “tourist attractions”

How do people normally feel drawn to a certain place? The people there? The scenery? Or perhaps the food and culture. It is probably weird to say this, but I was first attracted by the toilets in Japan. Even to this day, I would say that I am still fascinated by the toilets here and amazed by how people in Japan manage to keep their toilets clean.

How toilet paper reflects Japanese culture

Whenever talking about Japan, we can all agree that the streets here are very clean, and we can hardly see any litter. The same goes for the toilets; no wet floors, no dirty toilet seats, and the most amazing thing is the amount of toilet paper available. Growing up, I have never seen any public toilets with extra rolls of toilet paper inside the stalls. I imagine that if there was extra toilet paper in the public toilets in my country, it would be impossible that they would remain for the “public”.

Extra toilet paper in stalls

The last thing you need to worry about when going to a public toilet in Japan is lack of toilet paper. After living here for almost two years, I still haven’t seen any public toilets not equipped with more-than-enough toilet paper. Looking at toilets in Japan, we can actually see how selfishness is not a word that would describe most Japanese people. As Japanese people have the culture and habit of not causing inconvenience and trouble to others, it is even needless to place a sign warning toilet users not to take the public toilet paper home. There might be exceptions, but isn’t it surprising how the majority of people are so thoughtful of others?

How about an upgraded version of toilets?

Talking about toilets in Japan, “washlets”, which are toilets equipped with different functions, are really common here and frequently seen typically in large cities like Tokyo. There are different buttons on the wall or on the side of toilet itself controlling different features. A few common ones are rear-end washing, bidet function, and the sound function. With all the different functions on the control panel, it might be a little complicated to new users, but I believe that you will find it convenient in no time.

Sound Function Panel

One special part of the features of washlets is that there is a sound function. It is either a sensor or a button on the panel, so when you go near it or push it, a “flushing sound” will be projected from the speaker. I did not really understand why there is such feature at first, but later I read that this feature is to camouflage these sounds”. That is when I learned that Japanese people are embarrassed of the “ongoing sound” so this function has become some sort of shield to make them feel more secure.

Isn’t it interesting how we can learn the culture of a certain country and their people by just looking at their toilets? There are certainly many other aspects to learn about a place and I think that it would be interesting to have cultural exchange through these little things in life.