It’s a universally held opinion that public toilets are often gross and rather grim places, that’d you’d only opt to use if you had no other option. In Japan, many people who hold the same opinion can usually sum up their feelings with one of, if not a combination of the 4 K’s; kurai, kitanai, kusai, and kowai. Meaning; dark, dirty, smelly & scary. 

In a bid to change the status quo, The Nippon Foundation has dreamt up the Tokyo Toilet Project. The Tokyo Toilet Project plans to renovate 17 public toilets located in Shibuya, installing the world`s first transparent toilets, designed by Shigeru Ban, a highly-acclaimed Japanese architect.

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The Tokyo Toilet Project aims to make the public toilets easily accessible for everyone regardless of gender, age, or disability. All of this is with a goal in mind, to demonstrate the possibilities of a more inclusive society.

The logo of the Nippon Foundation

August 5th, 2020 marked the official opening of the first 3 of these bathrooms. There was certainly no shortage of local news crews to cover the story. We were also lucky enough to have a few questions answered by Hayato Hanaoka, the manager of the TOKYO Toilet project.

Newly Installed Toilet Cubicles in Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park

Just a short walk from the first bathroom in Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park is the  Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park, which is home to a similar facility, albeit sporting different colours to help it better match the surroundings.

These new designs are certainly interesting and will only add to Japan’s international reputation for having the best toilets in the world. If you’d like to check them out for yourself find the locations below:

Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park – https://goo.gl/maps/6s4WhJiahdg9XNt67
Haru-no-ogawa Community Park – https://goo.gl/maps/E7FeNhYcXTk1Q2cBA

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Yasuharu Matsuno

Founder of Japan Insider (Former Ryu Tokyo). Japanese-born entrepreneur. Yasu spent his life around the globe – Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, and the U.S. He hopes he had more time to play Japanese RPGs. MBA from Columbia University in the City of New York.

Julian Domanski

Born in England, Julian is a writer, videographer & musician living in Tokyo. When he’s not drinking copious amounts of English Tea, he can be found studying Japanese or trying to master the surprisingly complex basics of the Jiuta Shamisen.