Follow Us




Views “Toire”: The Toilets of Japan
Japan’s Top 12 Restrooms

“Toilet hunter” Maritomo has been seeking out Japan’s most fun and unusual restrooms for over a decade. Here she presents 12 of her favorites, which demonstrate how creativity can transform the most humble of spaces.

Extraordinary Restrooms

Visitors to Japan are often fascinated—and often bewildered—by the many functions of the nation’s high-tech toilets. They can form the basis for memorable experiences, inspiring some people to go so far as to take one home as a souvenir. While old-fashioned squat toilets remain the standard in some locations, public facilities tend to be clean, well-maintained, and free of charge. Beyond the standard conveniences, however, there are numerous extraordinary restrooms out there.

Maritomo, wearing her trademark toilet hat.

For more than a decade, the self-described “toilet hunter” Maritomo has sought out Japan’s most unusual restrooms. She has visited more than 300 and documented 249 of them in the book Nippon no toire hoka (Japanese Toilets and More). She makes frequent television appearances and contributes writing to print and online publications about her area of expertise.

Why the fascination with the loo? “Everyone has to use the toilet several times a day,” she explains. “The restroom is also important as a private space where you can be alone.”

Maritomo believes that Japan pays particular attention to restrooms. “A restaurant’s toilets reflect the motivation of the owners and staff. Japanese people think that even if they enjoy their time at a restaurant, it spoils the atmosphere if the restrooms are dirty when they visit.”

Below we list Maritomo’s top 12 toilets. You may find them so compelling that you just have to go.

1. Golden Toilets

Photo from Japanese Toilets and More.

The Robot Restaurant in Tokyo’s Kabukichō district demonstrates how a good concept can bring huge success. Its combination of dancing women and robots has made it a standard stop-off for many foreign visitors to the capital. The owners have not skimped on decking out the restrooms either.

MARITOMO  The golden toilets have been remodeled and upgraded many times. The photographs in my book show how they looked when the restaurant opened, so they are now a valuable document. Total construction fees for the building were more than ¥10 billion, and the designers seem to have spent a lot on the toilets. I take my hat off to the uncompromising design.

2. Garden Toilets

Photo from Japanese Toilets and More.

Resuto Ujō is a Japanese restaurant that provides the atmosphere of a traditional garden in the restrooms. It is located on the Echizen Coast in Fukui Prefecture.

MARITOMO  These restrooms are popular as customers can enjoy relieving themselves in a Japanese garden. They come for the wonderful toilets as well as the fine seafood cuisine. There are seven toilets in all, with names matching their various themes.

  • [2017.04.24]
Related articles

Also in this series

Related articles

Video highlights

New series

  • From our columnists
  • In the news