No one says, "I'm going overseas for the sweet restrooms!," but bathrooms in Japan have fascinated visitors with their luxurious comforts and high-end technologies for a while now. You're probably familiar with Japanese restroom features like the toilets that have a million buttons and boast the infamous "posterior wash"; however, you might not know that the originals were homegrown in the US and Switzerland.
Back in the '60s, the Wash Air Seat was designed for use in medical facilities. It wasn't until 1964 that it was imported to Japan, and it took another three years before a true Japanese super toilet was created. Initially, locals didn't embrace the luxury toilets with open arms because for some reason, toilets have an "unclean" image. But everything changed in a 1982 commercial featuring pop star Jun Togawa. When she read a letter from her butt that said, "Even bottoms have feelings," the hearts (and rear ends) of the Japanese people melted. These days, it's estimated that about 76% of Japanese homes have at least one high-tech toilet.
This isn't to say that Japanese bathroom perks are all about the potty. Restrooms in the Land of the Rising Sun can give medical advice, play relaxing tunes, and help you clean your dirty laundry. Sounds too good to be true? Read on to get to the bottom of this!
Restrooms Know How To Treat A Lady
From the purse shelf to the makeup rooms, Japanese restrooms are incredibly female friendly. However, those features are just cosmetic compared to the biggest benefits. Due to their special mechanics, ladies come into contact with toilet seats more often than men, which can be terrifying if there aren't enough squares to cover the bases. But in Japan, you can count on a toilet seat sanitizer being available basically all of the time.
Cleanliness doesn't stop there, though. Some bathrooms have what they call a “changing board." Instead of dirtying your socks on the floor, you can stand on this support while you switch outfits in COMPLETE privacy. Unlike in the US, the walls of stalls extend fully to the ground; there's no gap where people can judge you by your footwear or lack thereof.
Last but not least, mother's with small children can rejoice. There are often little toilets for the girls, and even a urinal for boys.
The Toilets Clean Themselves
It's a dirty job but... nobody's gotta do it? This restroom perk might only benefit you if you plan on taking up the custodial arts, but that doesn't make it any less impressive. With a combination of eWater+( electorlysed antibacterial water) and Actlight (antibacterial UV light), Toto's newest models disinfect themselves with every flush. And with their special nanotech coating guarding against stains, they stay pearly white. Really, it makes you think twice about whether the toilets at the Toto Museum have never been used.
There's A Complimentary Museum To Honor Their Greatness
For history buffs who want to take a walk down memory drain, the Toto Museum in Kitakyushu has you covered. They've got more than 900 displays that detail the history of the company and its toilet. One of the highlights is the infamous “Toilet Bike Neo". If you haven't guessed it yet, this vehicle was designed to run on bio-gas and was created to promote Toto's environmentally friendly image.
No visit to this museum is complete without making a stop at the gift shop. Omiyage (souvenirs) are a big part of Japanese culture, so you'll want to pick up a mini toilet or two to give your friends. Just warn them that they're for decoration only.
Smart Toilets Are Like Live-In Doctors
Japanese bathroom perks don't just keep you clean and tidy; they have the power to save lives. Toto's Intelligence Toilet is a prime example. First, there's a scale built into the tiles, so you'll know instantly if you've been hitting one too many tabehoudais. If you're the type who's gearing up to be the next Mr. Universe, you can literally grasp your BMI by grabbing hold of a meter.
All of this is definitely cool, but you could argue that the blood pressure monitor and urinalysis are the real life savers. Once the tests are taken, the data is transferred to your computer where it is filtered and organized. From there, a program offers suggestions on how you can improve your diet.