Ridiculous Street Signs #18: The Correct Way To Use The Bathroom In Japan

IMG_2711In late June Kim, Lucas and I visited Japan and had an amazing time traveling around the country. Kim and I had transited through Tokyo a few times previously but never made it out of the airport before.

It was finally nice to get out and have the chance to explore the country. It was a whirlwind trip and thanks to the amazing and efficient Japan Rail, we got to see quite a few cities in a short period of time.

Japan was never high on my list of places to go but it was still a country that I had to visit at some point. We were also happy to find Japan to be a great place to travel to with a toddler. Along the way, Lucas made lots of friends and many of the “seniors” even gave him little toys which was extremely nice.

For Japan being such a (supposedy) western and technologically advanced nation, we were a bit surprised by a few things.

  1. It seemed like Wifi was non-existent, not even in McDonald’s! For a country so into technology, why not have wifi?
  2. The bathrooms. Talk about contrasts. Some places had futuristic, electronic toilets which needed an instruction manual to operate while many others had squatters. Squatters are something we are quite familiar with but usually in third world/ developing nations.

The good thing about bathrooms in Japan is that the squatters come with instructions!

For those of you that have never seen a squatter before, the one shown above is a very modern version. Many others have no plumbing attached and are more or less a hole in the ground. (I can’t even being to describe the smell that comes from many of them.)

Here is an example of instructions on how to use a squatter in Japan.IMG_2710

I know that it’s pretty hard to read the text in the instructions so I typed them out below.

1st Set of Text: (Squatter)

As shown in the illustration on the left-hand side, squat with your body facing the hood when using the Japanese-style toilet. Never sit the opposite direction as shown in the illustration on the right-hand side. 

Pocket tissues are sold in the vending machine in the front. Bills are exchanged into 100 yen coints at the shrine office.

2nd Set of Text: (Toilet)

As shown in the illustration on the left-hand side, sit on the stool with your back facing the lid when using the western- style toilet. Never ride and squat on the stool as shown in the illustration on the right-hand side.

Pocket tissues are sold in the vending machine in the front. Bills are exchanged into 100 yen coints at the shrine office.

For those of you planning a trip to Japan, I hope that this better prepares you for when you need to go!

Check out the rest of my Japan trip reports/posts:

4 thoughts on “Ridiculous Street Signs #18: The Correct Way To Use The Bathroom In Japan

  1. I ran into the whole toilet contrast in China. In some places, the squat toilets didn’t even flush. In Shanghai, the toilet had more buttons that my TV remote. I actually devised an invention which I might invent one day – basically a toilet in a briefcase that fits over a squat toilet, so westerners can do their business in piece.

  2. Chanel- Glad that you enjoyed! No need this time for your friend to translate though!

    Michael A- It is funny how toilets vary around the world. Who would think that you need instructions on how to use one! We’ve seen quite a variety of squatters, some more or less just a hole in the ground while others can look like the Japanese variety. Interesting product idea but I can’t say that I’d want to be carrying it around while traveling! 🙂

    Fishing4Deals- Thanks! Interesting tour idea!

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