Today Japlanning are going down the toilet, literally. For first timers in Japan, one of the most confronting things you first experience is the modern Japanese toilet. With more buttons then a game controller, you might be a bit hesitant to press anything in fear of being sucked into a sub-world of Japan. Well, fear not, because today we’re going to explain the Japanese washlet toilet, and how to quickly fall in love with the most high tech seat you may ever put your bare bottom on.
So you’ve landed in Japan, and arrived at your nice business hotel in Tokyo or Osaka, and as a general rule we scope out our new digs. Lay on the bed, flick through the TV channels, check out the view, and check out the bathroom! Well this is when you get your first glimpse of the, at first glance, intimidating, Japanese washlet toilet.
Sure it might just look like a normal toilet with a game controller attached on the side, but this isn’t a game. Welcome to the world of toilet comfort and perfect hygiene.
Let’s get started braking down the common features you’ll find on most toilets.
Auto toilet lid
Let’s ease you into the future toilet. You will find that many have a mechanical seat cover which will open on your arrival, and will close when you leave. The same goes for the seat too, the age old problem of the toilet seat not being down is abolished! Also, on the keypad, you will find a option to have the seat and cover brought down at your discretion, in case you don’t like to leave the lid up.
Okay, this is probably my favourite feature. The toilet seats on most of the toilets are able to be kept toasty warm at the press of a button. It’s one of the first things I turn on in a new hotel room, because there is nothing worse than a cold toilet seat at 3AM in the morning when you’re half asleep to wake you up fully. Japan has got rid of this archaic problem with the toilet seat warmer. This one feature on all toilets in the world could end wars.
Time for the fountain show
Okay now we’re into the “scary stuff”, at least to a first timer. On all of these toilets, you will find a plethora of buttons dedicated to cleaning you. On simpler models you will usually find a blue button with a fountain and a buttocks picture on it. Press this and it will spray water at your buttocks and give it a good cleaning. Yes, you will be cutting down your toilet paper usage in Japan! The other main button you will find is a pink on with a fountain and a lady on it, this works the same as the butt spray, except it realigns for women.
Okay, so these are the most basic bidet features of the Japanese “washlet” toilets, now onto the more complex parts that are necessary to learn to fully get the most out of your toilet (and some great trial stories for your return home).
Now, next to the bidet functions, you will either have buttons or a dial for controlling the water pressure, so you can have it come at you like a laser beam, or a more gentle stream, what ever is your preference! We would recommend starting on the lowest pressure when you first use it, then test it out. Think of it as a rental car: you’re going to try out all it has to offer!
Okay, now onto some of the more advanced bidet functions that you won’t find on all the washlet systems, however most of the newer ones have these.
Now you may not like the idea of cold water being squirted into your nether regions, even if it is far more hygienic than the normal way of cleaning. Well, many have temperature controls so you can manage the water temp, and have a nice lukewarm spray, this isn’t the dark ages after all!
I’m sure you’re thinking: this must be all the features of the bidet functions, I mean, what else is it going to do, take your dinner order? Well no, but many do have the very different and unique feature of oscillation. Yes, you can decide whether you want the bidet system to oscillate the water, increasing and then subsiding the pressure, and more. Think of it like a pedestal fan: you can have the air directly on one spot, or perhaps you’d prefer it move around a bit.
A musical interlude
Perhaps last night you ventured out, and had a hearty tikka masala, and the next day you’re feeling the repercussions, well many Japanese washlet toilets have you covered. You will find these ones in many shopping malls and other public areas. There is a button so you can have a cover sound, which is sometimes music, sometimes the loud sound of water flushing, play out of a speaker to cover any loud noises you may be making in the bathroom. On many toilets this button is easily identifiable by a music note on it.
Time to dry off
Now this is a great feature that is on the newer and more expensive washlets, the dryer! We have dryers for our hands, it only makes sense that after the use of the bidet feature it should dry you off as well! The other bonus is that this really brings down the amount of toilet tissue you use!
Throw away your air fresheners
Now the final feature we will be covering today, is an amazing feature! That could make febreeze and all the other deodoriser companies go bust! Most washlet toilets have a deodoriser function built in, that automatically deodorisers the toilet and surrounding area immediately after you leave, so you never have to fear leaving the smell of death for the next occupant!
Cleanliness is pleasantness
Now you may have some concerns about the cleanliness of the mechanisms of these washlet systems. Don’t fret, all the systems have self cleaning and sterilisation of the spray nozzles after every use, even after each function if you switch between them.
Now there are certain models with a host of other features, however we have covered the main ones here that you are bound to come across on a trip to Japan. A good reminder also is that you may find in regional areas and some tourist locations the older traditional Asian-style squat toilets. Don’t fret, you will 99.9% of the time find cubicles with western style toilets if you are not comfortable with the squat system.
Another thing you may find on some washlet systems is the lack of any English or symbols, it will all be in Japanese. If you’re feeling adventurous, press a few and see what surprises will come about. You’ll soon figure out what features you were wanting to use.
Well that covers the important parts, so you don’t have to have a panic attack the first time you have to use the amazingness of the Japanese washlet toilet, and trust us, you will come to love it, and try to find a way to bring one home!
Don’t worry about putting the seat down before leaving, Washlet will take care of it.
Have you had any encounters with the Washlet systems? How did you find them?
Tell us in the comments below!