A brief Westerner's guide to Japanese toilets

There are two types of toilets in Japan; Japanese style and Western style. Public washrooms often house both types of toilet, while some newer facilities such as malls might have only the Western style toilets. In most Japanese homes the toilets are western style.

Both Western and Japanese style toilets normally have two flush options: "small" (小) and "large" (大), which allows you to select the amount of water used.

Japanese Western style toilets are usually more elaborate than those in the rest of the world and can be a bit daunting on your first trip to one! They have a number of buttons to play with and these operate a plethora of functions.

Additional features may include:

- the bidet function with two settings, the usual bidet function and one for ladies but don't let that stop you trying it! The nozzle is usually self cleaning and the water temperature and pressure are often customisable
- heated seats
- a blow dryer
- automatic flushing
- automatic deodorizer
- automatic opening/closing
- playing sounds to hide embarrassing noises, known as 'sound princess'
- power saving modes

Happy toileting!