Japanese Customs: The toilet room and Japanese toilets


The toilet room

One of the most important pieces of etiquette is proper use of the toilet room.

In front of the door to the toilet room you will see a pair of slippers. These slippers are meant to be worn only in the toilet room. If you are already wearing slippers, you should step out of the slippers you are wearing and into the toilet room slippers; then go into the toilet room and use the toilet. When you leave the toilet room, return the toilet room slippers to just the way you found them; if you were wearing other slippers before, step into these and return to wherever you came from.

It is a major blunder to wear the toilet slippers outside the toilet room area.

Japanese toilets

You are likely to encounter these kinds of toilets in Japan:

  • Classic toilets as you are used to, with the flush operated by a lever, switch, or knob

  • Men will find standard urinals in most public mens rooms

  • Asian toilets, (also called "squat toilets") where you are expected to squat over a hole in the floor (face the 'hood', flush with a pull chain); while these are still ubiquitous, there is almost always a Western style toilet as an option also.

  • High tech toilets known also as "washlets": standard flush, but wash and dry options, and more on some models (sound effects, deodorizer, etc.)

Here are some YouTube videos describing how to use the various kinds of toilets:


Another point to be aware of is that you often will not find any hand towels for drying your hands after washing up; most Japanese carry a handkerchief for this reason.