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Are squat toilets still common in Japan?


Japan is often known for its unique culture and traditions, which includes their toilets. One of the most talked-about types of toilets in Japan is the squat toilet, also known as the Asian toilet. But are these types of toilets still common in Japan? In this article, we will explore the prevalence of squat toilets in Japan and why they are still used in some places.

The history of squat toilets in Japan

The squat toilet has been used in Japan for centuries, dating back to the Edo period. At that time, many people used a hole in the ground to do their business. The design has since evolved, with a ceramic or metal basin installed in the floor. This type of toilet is still commonly found in public restrooms like train stations and parks.

Japanese Snack Box

The benefits of using a squat toilet

Many Japanese people prefer using squat toilets because it is believed to be more hygienic compared to sitting toilets. Some also say it helps with digestion and reduces constipation. Squatting also requires less contact between skin and bacteria on the toilet seat, which can reduce the risk of infections.

The decline of squat toilets in Japan

Despite its long history and benefits, the use of squat toilets has been declining in Japan over the years. This is due to the increasing popularity of Western-style sitting toilets, which are now more commonly used in homes and modern public facilities.

Places where squat toilets are still commonly found

While squat toilets are less common than they once were, they can still be found in some places. These include rural areas, schools, old homes, and traditional Japanese-style accommodations like ryokans.

The importance of knowing how to use a squat toilet

For travelers to Japan or those who live there, knowing how to use a squat toilet is essential. It can be daunting for those who have never used one before but with some practice and guidance, it can become second nature.

How to use a squat toilet

To use a squat toilet, first remove your pants or skirt completely or pull them down past your knees. Then face the hooded end of the toilet bowl and position your feet on either side of it. Squat down with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle while keeping your balance by holding onto handrails if available. Once finished, use the provided water or tissue paper to clean yourself.

The future of squat toilets in Japan

While it’s uncertain whether or not squat toilets will make a comeback in modern Japan, there is evidence suggesting that they may become more popular among younger generations who value traditional practices and want to return to their roots.

The cost of installing a squat toilet

The cost of installing a squat toilet depends on various factors such as location and materials used. However, it is generally cheaper than installing a Western-style sitting toilet.

The environmental impact of using a squat toilet

Squat toilets may be more environmentally friendly than sitting toilets because they require less water for flushing. Additionally, some models have an attached sink on top that allows users to wash their hands while flushing, saving even more water.

The cultural significance of squat toilets

Squat toilets hold cultural significance in Japan as they represent traditional Japanese ways of life. They are also associated with cleanliness and hygiene which are highly valued in Japanese culture.


In conclusion, while the use of squat toilets has been declining in modern Japan, they still hold cultural significance and can be found in some places like rural areas and traditional accommodations. Knowing how to use them is important for travelers and understanding their benefits can help us appreciate this unique aspect of Japanese culture.

What countries still use squat toilets?

Various countries in Asia, such as China and India, commonly use squat toilets. They are also prevalent in other nations like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar, Iran, and Iraq, as well as in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore.

Do people still use squat toilets?

Four billion people worldwide use squat toilets, including most of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. Generally, these toilets have a water bucket or hose for hygiene, not toilet paper. Some wheelchair travelers find squat toilets more accessible than western-style toilets with the proper modifications.

Why does Japan have squat toilets?

Compared to sitting toilets, squat toilets make it easier and quicker to have bowel movements because when squatting with legs apart, there is less pressure on the intestines and rectum. This position also reduces the time spent in the bathroom, resulting in faster turnover rates in public restrooms.

What is the most common toilet in Japan?

The Western-style toilet is the most commonly found type of toilet in Japan and is similar to those used in developed countries such as the United States, Singapore, and Australia. It can be used in the same way and may sometimes include a small sink-like area at the top.

Are there squat toilets in the US?

At the West Thumb Geyser Basin in Yellowstone, you can find a type of toilet called a squat toilet. This type of toilet is essentially a small, rectangular metal box placed in the ground with a hole in the center that is approximately 12 inches in diameter.

Why do toilets in Italy have no seats?

In Italy, many public toilets do not have toilet seats due to concerns about maintenance. As these spaces are often not very clean, people may climb on top of the seat with their shoes on instead of sitting on it, which could make it even dirtier.

The importance of preserving traditional practices

As Japan becomes more Westernized, there is a growing concern among some citizens about the loss of traditional practices and values. Preserving squat toilets is one way to maintain a connection to Japan’s cultural heritage and promote a sense of national identity.

The role of technology in the future of toilets

As technology continues to advance, there may be new ways to combine the benefits of both sitting and squat toilets. For example, some companies have developed hybrid models that allow users to switch between sitting and squatting positions. This could be a solution for those who want the hygiene benefits of squat toilets but prefer the comfort of sitting toilets.

The potential for international adoption of squat toilets

While squat toilets may not be popular in many Western countries, they are common in other parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. As global awareness grows about the hygiene benefits of squatting, there may be an increase in demand for these types of toilets worldwide.

The need for accessible toilets for all

Regardless of whether it is a sitting or squat toilet, it is important to ensure that all people have access to safe and hygienic toilet facilities. This includes individuals with disabilities and elderly persons who may have difficulty using traditional squat toilets. It is essential to provide accessible facilities that meet their needs.

The future of public restrooms in Japan

As Japan prepares to host the 2021 Olympics, there has been a push to improve public restroom facilities throughout the country. This includes updating existing facilities and building new ones that meet modern standards. While it remains to be seen how many of these facilities will include squat toilets, it is clear that hygiene and accessibility will be top priorities.

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