How to use the toilet in Japan

By on February 7, 2016

You probably giggled a little when you read the title of this blog post.

The truth is.. I’ve been living in Japan for 2 years now and when I went to the toilet in yesterdays restaurant I had troubles figuring out how to flush.. In the end, it was the button that looked like a wifi symbol. (Second Picture Below)

And this is not the first time that I have this problem, every single time I have to find out how or where to flush, I usually follow my personal guide:


  • Does the toilet have a black “stripe” (sensor)? – Then it could be a toilet that flushes automatically when you leave. Try tricking it by going out of his angle and see if it flushes.


  • Does the toilet have buttons on the side? – Then you have to find the right button, don’t try to do random as it includes spraying water into the air (that’s supposed to hit your butt). One of the buttons should say “大” (big flush) or “小” (small flush)


  • Does the toilet have a handle on the side? – Pull or push according to your goods.  “大” (big flush) or “小” (small flush).



  • Do you see a panel attached to the wall with buttons? – This could be related to the toilet! Try to search the 2 symbols “大” (big flush) or “小” (small flush). Remember to look everywhere on, under or side of the panel for these symbols.



  • You don’t see any of that? – Follow the pipes of the toilet, you may find some kind of handle with out any symbols on. Try pushing or pulling (or both) the handle to successfully flush.


  • No luck? – Run..


I do not have a picture of every single way to flush, but I promise to update it with pictures as soon as possible.


Except flushing, the toilet also includes several other features that you may not find in the rest of the world like:

  • A way to spray water to your butt for extra cleaning comfort! (NOTE: press the button according to your gender, as the spray angle changes.)
  • A button that will make water/waterfall sounds to cover up your splash sounds. (Not on Picture below)
  • A warm toilet seat. Yes ladies and gentleman, what the Japanese hated about Western toilets were the cold seats. So they improved on it by adding a heating element inside.
  • The toilet seat has the ability to flip the seat up the moment it sees you.



If the toilet looks like a hole in the ground, then I’m afraid you encountered a traditional Japanese toilet. You will be required to squad to be able to drop your goods.


I hope this tutorial will help you in the future. If you find new features or different ways of flushing here in Japan then kindly place a comment below so I can update the article with this information.






February 7, 2016