Facts about Japan – Land of the rising toilet seat

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A Chinese couple was recently caught stealing a Japanese toilet seat from a hotel. Others spend billions of dollars on purchasing them. A survey done by a Japanese Broadcasting Station revealed it’s not the Shinkansen, Sakura, Ramen, Samurai, Onsen, Capsule hotel, Fake food, 100 Yen shop or even Sushi which thrills the tourists most. They are all unique to Japan but the number one answer is the Japanese Toilet Seat. If you have never been to the land of the rising sun or have no idea about interesting facts about Japan, you would be wondering why a Japanese toilet seat is so fascinating to Tourists.

The reason is simple – Japan made poop action cool. The act of excretion is largely the same across the world. We either sit on an elevated throne or squat above a hole. We either use toilet paper or use water. But in Japan, a wonder seat called the bidet toilet seat has transformed the mundane act of excretion into a technologically enhanced sensorial pleasure.

Washlet – the multifunctional automatic Japanese Toilet Seat

A bidet toilet seat or simply put a multifunctional toilet seat was invented in America but has been perfected in Japan. Commonly referred to as a Washlet, it can do wonders – open the toilet lid automatically, play music, deodorise, sterilise, wash the exact spot you want with the exact water pressure and temperature you like, blow dry, massage and automatically flush, among a lot of other exciting features. The standout feature for me was the heated seat. Imagine putting your warm butt on a warm seat and not on an iceberg seat that gives you a jolting chill shock!

Instructions on how to use a Washlet in Japan

But this invention didn’t come out of thin air. A company called TOTO monitored hundreds of people to see their sitting position, how they used the toilet seat, what temperature they felt comfortable at, and so on. TOTO’s hard work in the toilet got the cash registers ringing. Today, 70% of the Japanese have a washlet vs. 30% have a dishwasher. Clearly, washing bottoms is more important to the Japanese than washing kitchenware! I, too, would have done the same if I were living here.

If the Japanese think of giving special treatment to washing bottoms, how can the rest of our body be treated any less? I am sure some Japanese guy in ancient times might have visited heaven to come up with an idea of Onsen. Imagine looking at an endless turquoise-blue lake bejewelled with islets dressed in bright autumn leaves. You are enjoying the view not from a living room but from an outdoor bath, soaked in miraculous hot spring water while snowflakes are falling on your head. Sounds dreamy, right? Well, this dream does come true in Japan. This is experience talking 🙂

Lake Toya Promenade where onsens of all kinds are situated, Japan
Lake Toya Promenade, where onsens of all kinds are situated, Japan

I was hesitant to try this magic therapy of healing plus rejuvenation plus pleasure for the first time, but once I tried, I couldn’t stop myself from enjoying it every day. Hot spring culture is not new to the world. Almost every country has it. But the Onsen experience is unique because you have to follow public bath etiquette and have to be completely naked in front of others. Shocked? You do feel hesitant and nervous for the first time, but trust me, it’s like making love. Once you do it for the first time, you can’t stop yourself from surrendering to the pleasure. Every day, I would walk for miles, get tired and end my day enjoying Onsen therapy for hours. Nirvana!

Daiichi Takimotokan, which is the most famous onsen in Noboribetsu, Japan

Though I visited a dozen onsens, each was unique in itself, and the Noboribetsu Onsen stood out for me. It is Japan’s leading onsen village and is known as “the department store of hot springs” because of nine different kinds of hot springs well up here. It is a one-street village with hot spring hotels on both sides. If you visit Noboribetsu, definitely experience the onsen at Daiichi Takimotokan Hotel, which has 20 different hot spring baths located both indoors and outdoors with an amazing view of the Hell Valley.

The changing room of the Daiichi Takimotokan Onsen, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido, Japan

But before you get into an onsen, make sure you know and follow Onsen etiquette. Here is an infographic for your better understanding

Infographic courtesy Tripadvisor
Please click the image to enlarge. Infographic courtesy Hotel New Akibono

Once you come out of the Onsen, you feel refreshed and warm. Even an insomniac would sleep like a baby after the onsen experience. I know because I am one.

So, do you think the reason for visiting Japan for its toilet and bath culture is valid enough, or do I need to tell you more unique things about Japan?

Do keep a tab on this space to learn more interesting things about my favourite country in the world – Japan.

Also, Japan has become more open to accepting foreigners lately, and I have seen many expats make it their base.

Read More:

If you want to read some more really cool stories about Japan, don’t forget to read:

10 Reasons to Visit Hokkaido: From Ainu Culture to Winter Wonders, Your Ultimate Guide

Sushi, Shrines, and Beyond – 15 Essential Travel Tips for a Budget-Friendly and Hassle-free Adventure in Japan

Resilience and Renewal: The Survival Story of Japan’s Indigenous Ainu People

When and where to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Offbeat Japan: Discovering the offbeat Autumn beauty of Hokkaido

Open Season is the best time to visit Japan

My first Experience of Staying at a Capsule Hotel in Tokyo

Get a peek into the forgotten side of Asakusa, Tokyo

 Travel tips for Asakusa Tour

A step-by-step guide for multi-visit Japan Visa

Have you been to Japan? I would love to know your thoughts.

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