11 Reasons Why Japanese Toilets Are Awesome
Perhaps you’ve heard of them–these majestic plastic thrones with the latest in rear-end pampering technology. To the Western eye they are a fabled bathroom wonder only available to Hollywood’s super-rich, but in Japan these “washlet” toilets are accessible to all, from train stations to shopping malls to private commodes, with 72% of Japanese households now performing their daily duty atop these electronic bidet toilets.
East Meets West: History of the Bidet Toilet in Japan
What many people think of as “those fancy Japanese toilets” are actually called Youshiki, which translates to Western-style toilets. The sitting-position toilet was introduced to the country at the beginning of the 20th century, but became much more common in the post-war period due to the American occupation. By 1977, Western toilets began to outsell the traditional squat toilets, known as washiki (or the toilet that foreigners quizzically stare at when opening a restroom stall in Japan).
It wasn’t until 1980 that Toto designed the first washlet based on bidet technology from Switzerland and the United States. The term “washlet” is actually a trademarked name by its inventor but has since been generally accepted as the word to describe (fantastical) electric toilet seats with mostly gentle washing features.
A Primer on Japanese Washlet Features
The most common feature that Japanese toilets come equipped with is an automated bidet (feminine) and rear wash, which acts like a carwash for your undercarriage. When activated, a nozzle extends and releases a stream of water to thoroughly clean what toilet paper can’t. There are often controls for both water pressure and nozzle position, creating a kind of first shooter experience. While early models were occasionally less than forgiving when it came to spraying unsuspecting users in the face when not seated, today’s models are guaranteed to come equipped with pressure sensors that will only activate this feature when the user is seated (cross our heart).
Many washlets have a blow-drying feature to gently caress your newly bathed bums with the equivalent of a gentle spring breeze. This feature not only feels refreshing, but combined with the washing function, it eliminates the need for painful toilet paper which saves you money and the Amazon. If anything defines toilet luxury, it would have to be a completely dry bum at the touch of a button.
The automatic seat warmer is perhaps our favorite feature. If you don’t understand why, you’ve probably never 1) spent a night in a Japanese home 2) in the winter 3) with no central heating. Bathrooms temps can drop to near-freezing, and the idea of venturing out from underneath a warm nest of blankets in the early morning to sit on a frigid toilet seat is enough to make holding it in until dawn seem like the lesser of two evils. Thus, a warm seat is hands down one of the best features of a Japanese super toilet. The latest models even have an energy-saving mode that records when you most often use the toilet and automatically heats the seat during those times.
A pretty self-explanatory yet much-appreciated feature, the deodorizer automatically deodorizes the air after you’re done exerting yourself. Particularly useful when using a toilet at the office or in your in-laws home!
From a cleanliness standpoint, Japanese toilets definitely go the extra mile. In addition to the self-cleaning nozzle, most toilets are equipped with seats that have a special antibacterial coating.
Often, toilet bowls also have a special super slippery coating that helps send your unwanted package on its merry way.
Now, this feature might weird you out a little at first, but hang with us. Japanese toilets are sometimes an all-in-one deal, with a sink basin connected to the top of the toilet. After you flush, water comes out of the faucet on top of the toilet. But don’t worry, the piping goes ONLY one way so the water coming out of the sink always runs clear. This clean water is then recycled to fill the toilet reservoir for the next use. Yay, saving trees and water!
Otohime – Japan’s Sound Princess
Baffling to many foreigners at first is “Otohime,” which roughly translates to “princess of sound.” With the wave of a hand you can summon your toilet’s princess to create ambient white noise (usually a flushing sound), just like in a fairy tale dream. Apparently, before this feature was invented, Japanese female propriety required repeated flushing of the toilet to disguise the natural sound of nature’s business. Otohime was created to eliminate this need and to conserve water, a double win! It can be startling, though, to walk into a bathroom, accidentally activate the Otohime, and be stuck wondering what is happening and how to make it stop. But don’t worry just let it run its course until it stops—sit back, relax, and enjoy the “music.”
A recent advance in toilet technology is the addition of an automatic lid that raises when you approach and lowers after you finish. Some toilets even have intelligent sensors that can determine your gender based on which direction you approach the toilet! If you approach facing the toilet, it raises both the lid and the seat, while if you approach sitting away from the toilet, it raises just the lid. This feature is more high tech than these car doors!
Warm Water Massage
Now we are getting into the really advanced features. High-end washlet models include “massage” options for the ultimate toilet experience. Don’t worry though, this is not a low quality infomercial toilet version of those massage chairs, roughly jabbing into your exposed derriere. Instead, this is a warm water massage with gently pulsating jets of water.
Speaking of therapeutic, the very top-of-the-line toilet technology is the “Intelligence Toilet” by Toto. This is an integrated system with scales in the bathroom floor, a blood-pressure cuff, and body fat meter. It even conducts “urine analysis” and can electronically send the results to your physician. For a paltry $6,100 USD, you too can experience the ultimate in toilet luxury.
Two words describe this feature: fail safe. If at any time you wish to longer experience the pleasure of the world’s most sophisticated toilet technology, simply push the button and get off the ride.
Where to Find Japanese Toilets for Sale
Now that we’ve laid out the many features of today’s Japanese toilets, go forth and experience bathroom bliss! If you would like to try a washlet in your home, be sure to check out what’s available at our website!