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What Is a Japanese Toilet? | The Surprising Truth

A Japanese toilet is a type of high-tech or smart toilet, common in Japan and becoming increasingly popular around the world.


A Japanese toilet is a traditional-style toilet with an attachment wand or smart seat added to the top. The seat includes smart features.

Smart or Japanese toilets are different from Western toilets as they offer a range of features. They are designed for comfort and convenience and have gained a reputation for being extremely clean toilets.

It’s surprising, though, that a Japanese toilet can be made anywhere in the world and one of the most popular manufacturer of the Japanese toilet called TOTO has factories in other countries.

Japanese Toilet

Just as the word Jacuzzi has come to mean any hot tub, although it began as a brand name, a Japanese toilet now means a toilet with smart features regardless of whether it was actually manufactured in Japan. That said, most features unique to a Japanese-style toilet were developed and patented in Japan.

Read on to discover the amazing features of Japanese toilets and why you just might want to get one.

The Cleanliness and Comfort of Japanese Toilets


When I visited Japan with my husband and son, I quickly learned that the Japanese people take cleanliness to the next level! This stems from a cultural belief that keeping one’s body and surroundings clean leads to good mental health. I couldn’t agree more!

In fact, according to a recent survey, Tokyo, Japan, has “the world’s most spotless public restrooms” (Source). 

In Japan, toilets are often equipped with antibacterial toilet seats and self-cleaning features. The bowls have a non-stick coating to prevent stains and debris from sticking to the sides of the bowl, with some spraying electrolyzed water into the bowl after every flush to kill off bacteria.

Many Japanese homes have a toilet with an integrated bidet system. This allows users to do their business and flush, wash, and dry their tushy without ever leaving the toilet!

Japanese toilets are also incredibly comfortable, with extras like air to dry you and personal wash jets with temperature-controlled water. These high-tech toilets can be pre-programmed to anticipate the needs of each user.

When it comes to cleanliness, hygiene, and comfort, the Japanese toilet is designed to make your ordinary bathroom trip an experience!

Japanese Style Toilets vs Traditional Toilets


What makes Japanese-style toilets special and different from traditional-style toilets? For starters, Japanese toilets have a bidet function and are often self-cleaning for improved hygiene. They are also eco-friendly, using less water and less toilet paper, which benefits the environment.

The basic operation of a Japanese toilet is the same as a traditional toilet, as in you sit down, do your business, then flush the waste away. But that’s where the similarities end.

Japanese toilets offer features not found in traditional-style toilets.

Understanding The Features Of Japanese Toilets

Best affordable bidet attachment - TUSHY - Review & Install

The most notable feature of a Japanese toilet is the bidet function, transforming a standard toilet into a smart one. The most important function of a bidet is to wash and dry the outside of your rear end, eliminating the need for toilet paper.

The bidet is activated by a button or remote control (if you have the smart toilet version).

Activating the bidet produces a stream of warm water from a nozzle to clean your rear end, followed by a jet of warm air to dry off.

A bidet is gentler on your skin than toilet paper, is more comfortable to use, and is a more hygienic way to clean up after using the toilet.

Bidet Styles

tushy bidet attachment

Not all bidets are alike, although they do perform the same functions. A stand-alone bidet is very different from a Japanese-style toilet.

A stand-alone bidet is a separate fixture generally standing next to the toilet. The user would do their business on the toilet and then move over to the bidet to clean up.

A Japanese toilet has an integrated bidet system, allowing users to do their business and clean themselves using the same toilet.

Let’s take a look at the different bidet styles:

Stand-aloneA hands-free bathroom fixture installed alongside a toilet – it looks like a traditional-style toilet but doesn’t have the means to remove waste. Instead, it is fitted with a water spout to wash your tushy.
AttachmentA small control panel with a built-in sprayer nozzle that fits onto the back and side of the existing toilet bowl, converting a standard toilet into an integrated bidet. The water hoses are connected to the plumbing. Perfect for a small bathroom.
Smart Toilet SeatReplaces the existing toilet seat with all the same bidet functions as the attachment, plus a few extras!

Unveiling the Features of Japanese Toilets

smart toilet with bidet

Japanese or smart toilets have a whole host of awesome features! The more you spend, the more you get! A smart toilet is multi-functional and combines both a bidet and a toilet in one fixture.

Basic Features of Japanese Toilets

These are the basic functions that you can expect to find on your Japanese toilet:             


All modern Japanese toilets have a bidet function. This feature sprays water over your tushy once you have finished your business. Most models have front and rear nozzles for better cleaning. After spraying with water, the air dryer function will dry your tushy.

Smart Flushing

A built-in sensor allows the Japanese toilet to flush itself when you walk away. Some have a sensor built into the side of the toilet, allowing you to flush with a tap from your foot.

Self-Closing Lid

A great feature when you use the throne in the middle of the night. No more crashing toilet seats to startle you all the way awake! The self-closing lid feature allows the lid to close slowly and softly.

Overflow Protection

Blocked toilets cause overflow and a pretty big mess. This feature prevents the toilet from flushing if there is a blockage, allowing you to unblock it before it overflows. (Unfortunately, toilets that can unclog themselves aren’t available on the market yet!)

Waterflow Conservation

Japanese toilets use less water than Western style toilets. The built-in sensors measure how much water pressure is needed to clean the bowl after each use.

Less water usage means more money in your pocket and less environmental stress.

Luxury Features of Japanese Toilets


The upscale Japanese toilets include bells and whistles that make me look at Western toilets with dismay. Here are some of the luxury features you can find:

Wireless/Remote Control

Most Japanese toilets have an attached side control panel, but some can also be operated by wireless remote control. Some can be connected to your Wi-Fi and controlled from your smartphone.

Adjustable Settings

This is the feature of a Japanese toilet that every family needs: You can program the preferences of each family member based on their weight, and the smart toilet will automatically adjust the settings for the user. Perfect water and air temperature, and perhaps your favorite playlist playing in the background?

Heated Seats

What could be better than a warm seat on a cold day? A heated seat is one of the best features of a Japanese toilet. It automatically warms up to your pre-set temperature and shuts off when you are finished.

Foot Warmers

Some Japanese toilets include foot warmers. Always welcome when you are using the throne on a cold winter’s night.


A self-cleaning toilet is the dream of every homeowner who values bathroom hygiene. No more scrubbing a stinky toilet bowl. Some Japanese toilet models spray electrolyzed water into the bowl before and after every use, killing off bacteria. You can opt for the automated cleaning option – if it is not used for 72 hours, the toilet will clean itself!


Some Japanese toilets have music built-in, while some allow you to hook your smartphone to the toilet speaker. You could even store MP3 tracks on it for your own playlist.


A fragrance is released into the air one minute after using the toilet, masking any odors and leaving a fresh-smelling bathroom.

Night Lights

The night light feature is handy when you need to use the throne in the middle of the night. It emits a gentle light to light your way instead of turning on the main light.


Sensors will make your life even easier. When standing close to the Japanese toilet, the lid will automatically open and it will close afterward.

Built-in sensors automatically switch off the streams of water when you stand up. Some models have a sensor at the bottom of the toilet, allowing you to switch the features on and off with a swipe of your foot.

Standby Mode

When you are not using your toilet, this feature will save you money by going into standby mode.

What Is a Washlet Toilet

TOTO Washlets displayed at store

“Washlet” is a brand name for a toilet seat with an integrated bidet registered with the Japanese toilet company TOTO, the world’s leading producer of these seat types. (TOTO now manufactures some of its products outside of Japan.)

The TOTO Washlet is a toilet seat affixed to the top of the toilet, replacing the standard toilet seat. Hygiene and cleanliness is maintained with the EWATER® self-cleaning wand, which cleans the bowl after every use.

The sleek design of the Washlet can complement the décor in any bathroom, while the quick release allows for effortless seat removal for easy cleaning. This smart bidet seat is easy to install on your current toilet.

The Benefits of Washlets

A picture of the user's manual for the TOTO Washlet

A Washlet bidet toilet seat has plenty of advanced high-tech technology. Not only is this toilet seat great for you, but it’s also great for the environment.

Affordable And Practical

The Washlet fits almost any toilet design and is available in a range of models with prices to match. All you need to do is replace your standard toilet seat with the Washlet to create a smart toilet.

Basic seats include a:

  • self-cleaning wand
  • warm air dryer
  • soft water spray
  • soft close seat
  • and remote control.

More advanced seats include all the basic features plus additionals like auto flush, electrolyzed water system, and a nightlight.

Using the Washlet is easy – simply complete your business, activate the sprayer and air dryer, and that’s all it takes!


A Washlet can be safely used by both men and women as it sprays warm water for external tushy cleaning.

Spraying warm water onto your tushy is a more effective way of washing away bacteria than wiping with toilet paper. This method eliminates the spread of bacteria and other nasty diseases.

Space Saving Design

No extra space is needed. The Washlet is designed to fit onto your existing toilet.

Easy to Clean

Washlet technology PREMIST® treats the bowl before each use, while EWATER+® sprays clean water after each use, preventing waste from sticking to the bowl.

No need for traditional harsh chemicals to keep the bowl sanitized.


No toilet paper is required, which means no flushing and less water usage. No toilet paper means no toilet blockages, saving more water.

A Washlet uses about 12 oz (568 ml) of water per use, compared to a standard water-saving toilet which could use up to 1.6 gallons per flush. This is great for the environment and means you will save on your water bill. (Source)

Assist Mobility Impaired

A Washlet is ideal for those with physical limitations as they offer more independence and are often easier to use than toilet paper.

How Much Does a Japanese Toilet Cost?

a person controls a smart bathroom fan with a mobile app

From basic to luxurious, Japanese toilets are designed to suit any budget but are generally more expensive than a standard toilet.

If you plan on replacing your existing toilet or remodeling your bathroom, then a smart Japanese toilet could be worth the additional costs.

The price of a Japanese toilet will vary depending on the brand, model and added features. The average price for a Japanese toilet ranges from $200 to around $13,000, depending on your needs.

This is what you can expect to pay for a Japanese toilet:

BasicBidet function
Heated seats
From $200
Mid-rangeBasic features
Air dryers
From $800
Higher-endIntegrated bidet
Self-cleaning bidet
From $2,500

Installing a Japanese toilet seat is surprisingly easy for most DIYers if you have an electrical outlet and a water connection nearby.

If you do have the correct connections, installation is as easy as:

·         Removing the existing toilet seat

·         Attaching the new bidet seat to the toilet

·         Connecting the power and water supply

If you don’t have either of these within reach of the toilet, call a registered contractor to install a GFCI breaker and a connection to your water supply line.

So Should I Buy a Japanese Toilet?

Japanese toilets have become increasingly popular because of their cleanliness and efficiency. The advanced features of Japanese toilets might take some getting used to, but once you have tried one, you may never want to go back to the traditional style toilet!

Tags: bidet, cleaning, cost, pros and cons, TOTO, washlet

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