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How to Use a Japanese Toilet

In Japan, toilets come in a range of styles. Learn to use traditional and modern models and feel comfortable whenever you have to go.


  • Step 1: Relieved yourself? Press the picture of a water spray to turn on the toilet's posterior wash. Touch the picture of a woman receiving the spray to activate a water stream designed to clean feminine areas. Use the pressure controls to adjust the water flow.
  • Step 2: Once you feel clean, press Stop to turn off the water. If your control panel has a drying option, use it. Then, stand up, adjust your clothes, and get back to your day. Just remember: after using any toilet, always wash your hands.
  • FACT: In 2009, a Japanese toilet maker released a talking toilet whose lid moves up and down in sync with its voice.
  • TIP: Many Japanese people refer to Western-style facilities as Washlets after a popular brand of toilets.
  • Step 3: If you enter a modern Japanese bathroom with Western-style toilets, known as "yo-shiki," look for special features on a side control panel. Check out buttons that might be useful during the act, like a musical note that creates sound to mask embarrassing noises or temperature controls for the seat.
  • TIP: If there are toilet slippers in the bathroom, wear them while using the facilities; leave them inside when you're finished.
  • Step 4: Pull your pants down to your ankles or your skirt up to your waist. Then, squat down over the hole, keeping your clothes clear of your backside and privates and your body off the toilet.
  • Step 5: Do your business. When you're done, wipe, and throw your toilet paper in the wa-shiki. Then, stand up, adjust your clothes, and flush.
  • Step 6: If you enter a bathroom and find an elongated hole in the ground, don't panic; this is a wa-shiki or Japanese-style toilet. Stand and face the bulbous end with your feet on either side of the hole.

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