Toilets in Japan
Japan has modern multifunctional toilets while old-style squat toilets still exist. There may be no other people than Japanese regarding the enthusiasm about the toilets.
There are a few different types of toilets in Japan. Along with the regular type of Western toilets, you often find multifunctional types. The top share maker of this kind of toilet is TOTO. It is not the name of the American music group, well when they came to Japan, they said they were very surprised to find their names all over Japan, only in toilets though.
TOTO started to produce the new type of western toilet which equips the fountain to clean your bottom with warm water in 1980. By 2011, the total sales surpassed 30 million units. They call it “Washlet”. But it was not their invention. It was the company in the United States who invented this kind of toilet to be used in the hospital and welfare facility. TOTO firstly imported the products from the US, but they developed their own products for the normal Japanese people.
TOTO has improved the toilet year by year. You can adjust the temperature and pressure of the water. Also, the seat is heated by the electricity. It is so comfortable in cold winter days.
You may be confused because of so many functions.
Cover Opens Automatically
Some high-tech toilets, when you enter the room, the cover of the toilet opens automatically. It is not to surprise people, but one of the sanitary solutions. If not, people need to open the cover which was used by the other people manually. It may not be very clean.
On the other hand, you will come across a squat toilet, which is a toilet bowl set at floor level that you squat over. Some people prefer this type of toilet because they don’t have to sit on the seat that was used by the other people. Japanese people are eager for the cleanliness. You may also train your legs if you squat every day. It might be one of the reasons why Japanese Judo players have strong lower bodies.
There used to be many squat toilets for the public toilets in the sightseeing spots or train stations, but the local governments and railway companies have been trying to replace them to the western toilets.
Change of the Lifestyle
The reason why the squat toilets has been decreasing is that the change of the lifestyle. People used to live in Japanese style houses with tatami or straw mats and sleep on futon bedding spread on the floor. But now the lifestyles have become more westernized. They sit on the chairs not on tatami floor. They also put multifunctional toilets in their houses. By this change, many children have never used squat toilets in their lives, so it is difficult to use the ones in the public restrooms.
Increasing Foreign Tourists
Another reason why the western style toilets have been increasing in the public place is that the foreign tourists have been increasing. Western people have never used squat toilets, so it is very difficult to use them. If they feel difficulties to use toilets while enjoying sightseeing, they may never come back to the site. So, having western toilets may be one important way to promote the tourism.
In some public toilet rooms, you may hear the sound of the river or music. This is the idea to cover the sound when you use the toilets. Japanese people are shy and they don’t want other people hear the sound while they are using the toilet. So, you can make sound by pressing the special button.
Small (小) and Big (大)
You may find the toilet with two flash buttons or flash lever which you can move to both sides. One says small (小) and the other says big (大) which mean No.1 and No.2. This is the idea to save the water. If you choose small, only small amount of water will flow while big uses more water.
I explained several different aspects of Japanese toilets, but anyway, Japanese people appreciate nice toilets. Provably the toilet room is the one space where they feel they can escape from their busy lives and truly relax.