How to use the Japanese Toilet

Imagine this scenario. You just finished using the bathroom and you have no idea how to flush. You start looking at all the buttons and have absolutely no idea what to do. You start to panic and are super embarrassed because your friends are waiting for you outside. They’re all probably wondering what’s taking so long!?! O-M-G! 
But no worries! Not to fear! For Amy Okamura is here to show YOU our step by step analysis of decoding that bidet toilet! 

Step # 1: Disinfect the toilet seat

Now, doesn't that feel squeaky clean?
You can ignore this step if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind just plopping your butt onto the toilet seat without laying toilet paper or using the disinfection dispenser. If you are more like a health, germ clean freak like me, then you’re going to love reading this step! Usually with modern bathrooms, you’ll find a little spray dispenser on the side. People often take cleanliness in their own hands and will disinfect the toilet seat right before they use it for an added oomph of security against germs. To use it, just take 2 feet of toilet paper, fold it up, spray, and then wipe your seat. Once you’re finished, just drop it in the bowl after use and you’re all set! 

 Now don’t you feel a little bit better about using that public toilet?

Step #2:  Do you boo (Doing your business)
This is your friend in the bathroom!

I think this is something that requires no explanation, but if you are going to be making some unpleasant sounds, look for the melody sign. That’s usually an indication for the button to make some pre-recorded flushing sounds for the sole purpose of making your bathroom noises less noticeable. They may be installed into the toilet along with the bidet controls, or they may be a separate panel attached to the wall. 

Step 3: Clean up! 

Ready to decode all these buttons?

Bidet: a low oval basin used for washing one's genital and anal area.

Of course you can wipe the old fashioned way with toilet paper or you could use the bidet! Why not? You can choose to wipe first or not, which will be up to your preference. The buttons will have illustrations on where you want to target, but if it doesn’t, look for おしり (oshiri) for your behind and ビデ (bidet) for your front side. You can even control water pressure with a plus or minus sign nearby. Make sure you know where the stop button (止) is before you even start!

Other bonus buttons you may want to know are these. 便座(benza) means toilet seat and this is the seat warmer, and 温水 (onusi) is for warm water. You probably won’t use these too much, unless if it was your own bidet at home. 

Step #4: Flush 

This sounds obvious but seriously some people may not know how. Now if it has a regular flushing lever, great! but if it doesn’t look out for 流す (nagsu) which means to flush. It could be a single button, or it might be connected to two buttons like this - meaning  大-big  and 小-small, corresponding to how much water will be needed for your flush. Other times it could be a sensor, which you’ll just place your hand over. Just look out for nagasu, and you’ll be all right. 

Sometimes you may see this button, 呼び出し (Yobidashi), don’t press it! Unless if you need some help and need someone to come get you. 

Now you’re all finished! Don’t forget to wash your hands before you head out! Most places will not have anything to dry your hands with, so remember to bring always bring a handkerchief!

I hope you feel well equipped and ready to tackle your next trip to a Japanese bathroom. They are definitely another aspect of Japanese culture that’s here to stay!

Happy toilet using!


Jus & Amy ジャス & エイミー