How to use Japanese High-Tech Toilets

Poste date: Friday, March 8, 2019

Japan is known as a land of extremes, and even in modern-day urban Tokyo, you can find "washiki (Japanese-style, hole-in-the-ground)" toilets, and in extreme contrast, the high-tech toilets of today. Not only are the high-tech "yoshiki (Western-style)" toilets more comfortable, they are also more economical in the long run. While all the buttons and functions available may seem confusing at first, Japanese high-tech toilets are actually fairly easy to use! From the first time you sit down, till the moment you flush, here is our simple guide to help you go with the flow.


Japanese High-tech Toilets 101: A Simple Guide

Automatic Toilet Seat and Lid Lifter

point_d
TOTO

You may be surprised at how good Japanese high-tech toilets are at anticipating your needs—even when you first walk in! Most of the newer toilets are equipped with a sensor that senses when someone is approaching and opens its lid automatically. While restaurants, health and beauty establishments have toilets with this option, as it is highly hygienic, it is not commonly seen in homes. In commercial establishments, if there is no lid lifter, there is usually some toilet seat cleaning product available.

Toilet seat cleaning products are available as wipes or sprays that are usually located 1) at the back of the toilet seat or 2) beside the tissue dispenser. You can use these to be more hygienic, especially at a public restroom, you can wipe the seat the down again if you want to be really polite for the next person.

 

Heated Toilet Seat

ウォームレット
TOTO Washlet

The dreaded midnight trip to the toilet during the cold winter days—wherein you sit and jump up again because of the freezing cold toilet seat—are over as  most high-tech toilets in Japan come with a heated toilet seats. The first touch is warm, pleasant, and soothing, just what you need for that cold-season relief.You can even adjust the amount of heat you want, and allows you to turn this function off in the summer. 


Toilet Sounds

One of the first developments in the Japanese high-tech toilet trend is the"oto-hime," (sound princess). "Oto-hime" is a loop of soothing recorded sounds (usually of flowing water) used to mask offending sounds while you make use of the facilities. These are usually marked with the note symbol (♪) and can be found as one of the toilet buttons or as a separate device altogether. While first developed for women's public restrooms (hence the name princess), it is now widely available on most public toilets. Recent innovations include "timed" sounds that stop after 25 seconds as well as "adjustable volumes" to suit every need. Saving your dignity has never been this easy.

 

Washlet

 

Developed in 1980 in an effort to cut down on toilet paper usage, the Washlet toilet is one of the pinnacles of "Cool Japanese products" and is now a standard feature in department stores, hotels, public toilets on expressways, and train stations among others. Some toilets have a bar on the side that houses the control panel, while others have the panel on the wall. In either case, the they share similar functions.

A warm shower washes your bottom with clean, warm water. Furthermore, you can adjust the position, range and intensity of the shower. Some functions include "bidet," "oshiri" (one's bottom) which is fairly self-explanatory, and "yawaraka" (soft,) which provides softer sprays. Depending on the model, some washlets may also have a warm blow-drying feature for after the shower.

Although the cleaning features that come with many Japanese high-tech toilets may seem uncomfortable or even intimidating at first, they can be addictive. Quite a few foreigners buy these and bring them home when they leave Japan, and there are rumors that some Hollywood celebrities have had them installed in their own homes. But don't take anyone's word for it—take a seat and see for yourself!

How to read Japanese words on the panel

流す
Nagasu
Flush 大(Dai): full flush
小(Sho): half flush
おしり
Oshiri
Spray the bottom -
ビデ
Bide
Bidet -
やわらか
Yawaraka
Soft wash -
止(停止)
Tomeru (Teishi)
Stop -
水勢
Suisei
Water pressure 強(Kyô): Strong pressure
弱(Jaku): Weak pressure
洗浄位置
Senjô ichi
Position 前(Mae): Forward
後(Ushiro): Rear
温度設定
Ondo settei
Temperature 高(Kou): Forward
低(Tei): Rear
便座
Benza
Seat -
温水
Onsui
Warm water -
ノズルそうじ
Nozuru souji
Cleaning the nozzles -
パワー脱臭
Pawâ dasshû
Deodorizer -



Automatic Deodorizing and Automatic Fragrance Feature

Once you're done indulging in all the wonderful cleaning functions available and you're ready to get on with your day, some Japanese toilets will actually deodorize and release fragrance automatically once you stand up. In some other toilets, this is not an automatic function. Instead, a wall-mounted deodorizer releases an aromatic spray at certain predetermined times (or via a sensor), ensuring a refreshing smell at all times. This is most likely part of a separate cleaning system and is commonly seen throughout public restrooms in Japan.


Flush Functions

"Remote control for complex Toto toilet" by Steven-L-Johnson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Most people probably consider flushing to be a one push affair, not so with high-tech toilets in Japan. Though the setup may appear overly elaborate due to so many levers and buttons, there are actually only a few functions you need to know. Generally all high-tech toilets have the function of "dai" (or big/full flush) or "sho" (or small/half flush.) You can probably guess what these are alluding to. Dai flushes would use approximately twice the amount of water that sho uses for those extra-strength flushing instances. While not yet common, "eco sho" conserves eve even more water than "sho." So what starts out as confusing turns out to be both innovative and ecological.


Another Innovation for High-Tech Toilets in Japan: Tank-less or Eco Toilet

A tank-less or eco toilet uses water directly from a water pipe to flush the toilet, and can clean the toilet bowl sufficiently with a smaller quantity of water. While this is less common in public restrooms, it is one of the standards for luxury home properties as it  (1) conserves water; (2) easier to clean; (3) has a sleek and modern design.


Amazing Japanese High-Tech Toilets at Luxurious Properties


Top of the line Japanese toilets are comfortable, environmentally friendly, and with a little practice, actually very easy to use! If you rent or buy with us, you may well discover that for yourself. Many of our Expat Standard rental and sales properties are equipped with the latest high-tech toilets, including the tank-less or eco-toilet. This is just one of the amazing toilets you can experience both at our luxurious properties and all throughout Japan.



 

  • Harmful insects in homes – Cockroaches/Gokiburi

    Cockroaches in Japan start to become a problem as the weather gets warmer and it becomes humid. For many in Japan, roaches are quite a bit of trouble to deal with. There are many products sold in in supermarkets and drugstores to catch / kill roaches. Here are some commonly used products as well as some preventative and natural ways to keep cockroaches away.
  • How to Keep Cool and Use your Japanese Air Conditioner

    Here is an easy to follow guide to using your Air Conditioner. Included are translations for the most common buttons and symbols on a Japanese air conditioner’s control panel from Japanese to English, to make sure your home remains at a comfortable temperature.
  • Japanese Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services in Tokyo

    Not sure how to do laundry in Japan? As apartments in the city are so small and hanging your washing outside is not an option in most cases, Tokyoites frequently use dry cleaners for a good deal of their laundry needs. Fortunately, there are many dry cleaning outlets in Tokyo and using their services can be very straightforward.
  • Japan Post Office Tips: Finding your Way

    Need to mail something or pick up a package while living in Japan? Japan has a highly efficient postal system with 24,000 post offices scattered all over the country. The Japanese Postal System also offers a number of financial services, some of which are exceedingly convenient to visitors from abroad.
  • Harmful insects in homes – Mosquito (Ka)

    A Guide to Mosquito Repellents in Japan. There are several excellent mosquito products on the market that you can use to repel and kill mosquitoes. Battery-powered repellant, sprays, herbal mat, hanging strap, wrist mat, and more.
  • Paying Bills in Japan Conveniently: A Simple Guide

    There are many convenient ways you can pay your bills in Japan. One such way is visiting your local conbini, or convenience store. Take your bills to the nearest 7-11, Lawson, FamilyMart, or other conbini of your choice and hand your bill to the clerk. Luckily they are open 24 hours.