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Toilets in Japan

There are two main kinds of toilets in Japan: the traditional Japanese-style toilet (or 'squat toilet') and the Western-style toilet. Public washrooms have Japanese-style toilets although in many tourist areas you may find at least one Western-style toilet. In public washrooms toilet paper is uncommon so please remember to always carry tissue paper everywhere you go (there are tissue paper vending machines located outside of the public washrooms). If you want to only use a Western-style toilet then it is best to use the toilets in department stores or in hotel lobbies. However, if you have to use a Japanese-style toilet here are some basic tips:

  • Face the hood of the toilet
  • Pull down your pants completely below your knees
  • Squat down as closely to the hood as possible. If the toilet is elevated (such toilets are usually found on trains), you need to stand on a raised platform while squatting
  • There is usually a small bar to hold on to if you have trouble keeping your balance while squatting

In a Japanese home or a ryokan, the toilet and the bathing area are often in separate rooms. In some places, however, they are in the same room just like in a Western home or hotel. If there is a toilet room, guests may find toilet slippers, which are to be worn only inside the toilet room. Leave your regular slippers outside, step inside the toilet room and immediately put on the toilet slippers. When you leave the toilet room, please leave the toilet slippers behind and change back into your regular slippers.

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