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Can I flush toilet paper in Japan?

The Truth About Flushing Toilet Paper in Japan

Japan is a country with a rich culture and fascinating traditions. However, if you’re planning to visit Japan or even live there, you may have heard rumors about the bathroom etiquette that may leave you wondering if you can flush toilet paper in Japan. This article will provide you with all the information you need to know before flushing any toilet paper in Japan.

Why Do Some Countries Not Allow Flushing Toilet Paper?

Before we delve into the specifics of Japan’s toilet paper flushing rules, it’s important to understand why some countries prohibit flushing toilet paper. In many cases, these countries’ sewage systems are not equipped to handle the volume of toilet paper being flushed, leading to blockages and other plumbing issues. Instead, they require individuals to dispose of used toilet paper in a separate container near the toilet.

Japanese Snack Box

The History of Japan’s Toilet Paper Habits

Japan’s toilet paper habits date back to the 1930s when the country began introducing Western-style toilets. At the time, the country’s sewage systems were not equipped to handle large amounts of toilet paper, so it became common practice to dispose of used toilet paper in a separate bin. This habit continued even as Japan’s infrastructure improved over the years.

Can You Flush Toilet Paper in Japan?

The short answer is ‘yes,’ but with some exceptions. Many modern buildings and hotels in Japan now have plumbing systems that can handle toilet paper, but older buildings and public restrooms may not. If there is no sign indicating whether or not you can flush toilet paper, assume that you cannot and dispose of it in a separate bin.

What Happens If You Flush Toilet Paper in Japan?

If you flush toilet paper in Japan where it is not allowed, it can cause severe plumbing problems for both the building and the surrounding area. The result could be a costly repair bill and even fines for those who violate this rule.

How Do You Dispose of Toilet Paper in Japan?

As mentioned earlier, if there is no sign indicating whether or not you can flush toilet paper in Japan, assume that you cannot and dispose of it in a separate bin provided near the toilet. The bins are usually labeled with “used” or “waste” on them and are emptied regularly by maintenance staff.

Is There an Alternative to Using Toilet Paper in Japan?

Yes, there is an alternative to using toilet paper in Japan – bidets. Bidets are common in Japanese households and public restrooms and provide a gentle stream of water to clean oneself after using the bathroom. Some bidets even have heated seats and blow-drying features for added comfort.

What Are Some Other Bathroom Etiquette Rules to Follow While in Japan?

In addition to knowing whether or not you can flush toilet paper in Japan, there are several other bathroom etiquette rules to follow while visiting or living in the country. These include removing your shoes before entering the bathroom, flushing the toilet before and after use, and washing your hands thoroughly before leaving.

Why Is Bathroom Etiquette Important in Japan?

Bathroom etiquette is crucial in Japanese culture as it reflects one’s respect for others and their surroundings. Keeping bathrooms clean and following proper etiquette rules shows consideration for others who will use the space after you.

What Happens If You Ignore Bathroom Etiquette Rules in Japan?

If you ignore bathroom etiquette rules in Japan, you may receive disapproving looks or comments from others around you. In extreme cases, ignoring these rules could lead to fines or even legal action if damage is caused to public property.


In conclusion, while it is possible to flush toilet paper in some parts of Japan, it’s important to know where and when this is allowed. Following proper bathroom etiquette rules such as disposing of used toilet paper correctly, removing your shoes before entering the bathroom, and washing your hands thoroughly after use will help ensure a comfortable experience for everyone using the facilities.


Where do you throw toilet paper after use in Japan?

The sewage system in Japan is advanced and toilet paper can be easily dissolved in water. Therefore, when using a flush toilet, it is important to discard used toilet paper in the toilet rather than throwing it in a trash can.

What does Japan use instead of toilet paper?

In countries such as France, Portugal, Italy, Japan, Argentina, Venezuela, and Spain, it is common to find bidets in washrooms as an alternative to toilet paper. This practice is popular in most European countries.

Do some countries not flush toilet paper?

In certain countries, such as Turkey, Greece, Beijing, Macedonia, Montenegro, Morocco, Bulgaria, Egypt, and Ukraine, it is not customary to flush used toilet paper down the toilet. Therefore, special waste bins are provided in restrooms for this purpose, and Americans may need to adjust their habits when traveling to these areas.

Can you flush tampons in Japan?

In Japan, it is customary to flush toilet paper down the toilet after use. Only toilet paper and other flushable paper should be disposed of in this manner. Sanitary napkins and tampons should be thrown away in the designated waste bin located next to the toilet.

Are Japanese toilets hygienic?

Toilets in Japan are known for their high level of hygiene, benefiting both the user and the household. They have automatic cleaning features, so there is no need for manual cleaning. Moreover, the nozzle provides a refreshing and pure sensation after using the toilet.

Why don t Americans use bidets?

Bidets have not gained much popularity in American culture, with one common explanation being that they were associated with brothels and viewed as indecent due to their use as a form of emergency contraception.

In addition to bidets, there is another bathroom fixture that is common in Japanese homes and public restrooms – the squat toilet. A squat toilet is a toilet bowl that is installed at ground level and requires the user to squat instead of sitting. Squat toilets are still prevalent in some rural areas of Japan, and it’s important to note that they require different etiquette rules compared to Western-style toilets.

When using a squat toilet, it’s essential to remove your shoes before entering the bathroom and place them on the designated shoe rack. In some cases, there may be slippers provided specifically for use in the bathroom. It’s also crucial to face the right direction while using the squat toilet and to avoid touching any part of the toilet bowl or floor with your clothing.

Another important aspect of bathroom etiquette in Japan is keeping the bathroom clean. It’s not uncommon to find cleaning supplies available in public restrooms for individuals to use after they’ve finished using the facilities. Some Japanese households have separate slippers specifically for bathroom cleaning, and it’s expected that individuals will clean up after themselves after using the bathroom.

Overall, following proper bathroom etiquette rules in Japan shows respect for others and their surroundings. By taking the time to understand these rules, visitors can enjoy a comfortable and stress-free experience when using public restrooms or visiting someone’s home.

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