The Truth About Japanese Toilets

June 11, 2008

Japanese toiletThere are a lot of things you’re prepared for when you travel. You plan for using foreign currency, you may study a few words and phrases of a foriegn language, you pack according to your destination’s different weather patterns. But how often do you study up on toilets?

Depending on where you’re headed, you may be treated to nothing more than a hole in the ground to aim for. Or maybe you’re headed to Europe and you’ve heard of a bidet, but don’t actually know what to do with it.

Or maybe you’re going to Japan. Have you read about the toilets in Japan? Do you know what to expect? Because in all of my reading and studying up on travel and other cultures, this little tidbit never came up until last week when I commented to a co-worker that another female co-worker had the strange habit of flushing the toilet five or six times in a row while she was in a stall. I assumed it was because she was trying to create a wall of sound for privacy, and my co-worker agreed, saying, “Right, like the toilets in Japan that make noise for you.”


So I emailed my friend who is currently living in Tokyo and asked if it was true. Do Japanese toilets really cover up your noises with its own noises?

“it’s true!  toilets are frequently equipped with music or some kind of sound system to make noise that is noisier than weeing and pooing noises (also drunken vomiting is very common among salarymen).  and yes it’s basically shameful to admit that you release noisy substances from your ends. more for J women than anything else.  they’re prudish as anything.”

(Comments about the prudishness of Japanese women are the opinion of the email writer, and in no way reflect the views of this blog.)

And this is why you should travel. Because you can read about museums and landmarks from home, but you’ll never learn about the toilets unless you go. (Pun. Ha.) 


  1. What a spectacular pun! Also, I think we should implement those kinds of toilets in the workplace. It’s one thing to have complete strangers your weeing and pooing, but when I leave the bathroom, I have to work with these people! Sheesh!

  2. Yes, Alice, I think that even the most open coworkers probably prefer not to share everything with the people they have to see every day. So maybe the Japanese have something with these sound toilets. Or maybe we should all invest heavily in the Muzak industry.

    Thanks for writing!

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